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How urgent is URGENT?

Specializes in None yet.....

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I am currently in my first clinically focused position out of school (I got my license about a year ago), working at an urgent care center. I took this position in the hopes that it would open more doors for me in obtaining a hospital position because I'll have had (what I thought is) acute care experience. While I am not dead set on what type of RN degreed nursing I want to do, I do have interests in ER and transplant care and my long term goal is to become an NP.

However, I was recently told that urgent care nursing is not considered acute care, but rather medical-practice/doctor's office type nursing. As you can imagine, this surprised me, considering that in the work that I do I can see a range of injuries and illnesses. Ultimately, if the nature of this current clinical experience will not open any more doors for me, than -say- a doctor's office, I need to know because I will work on moving out of this position even sooner than I intended.

A few questions:

  1. What value will a nurse recruiter/future employer place on urgent care experience?
  2. Is it considered acute care?
  3. Has anyone out there had their first clinical experience in an urgent care center? If yes, what was your subsequent position?

I look forward to your response!

Grateful for your time and feedback,


"Urgent Care" is an MD office type of a setting, for those who are not acute enough to necessarily warrant an ED visit, and can not get into see their primary MD, for illness and injury that can not wait until next week when their MD can see them.

With that being said, it is nursing experience. Once you have established yourself and have had nursing experience for at least a year, then I would see if you could do per diem at the local ED. More than likely, a small community ED would be a good place to start.

Once you have ED experience, then I would start thinking about certifications, mostly CCRN. Meanwhile, good certifications to have now are ACLS, PALS, NALS. Those could be done starting now, so that you have them under your belt.

I would not discuss an NP goal with any potential ER--I would focus on a goal of certifications, both of what you will have (ALS) and what you hope to get CCRN.

You may find that any nursing experience is better than no nursing experience. It may also mean that you might end up in a situation where you do per diem on Med/Surg, then decide to transfer to the ED once experienced.

Finally, have conversation with the ED nurse manager (and again, I would start with a small community ED) ask what it is you would need to work there. Network with her/him to decide the best way to accomplish your goals.

Best wishes.

Rose_Queen, BSN, MSN, RN

Specializes in OR, education.

1. Experience beats no experience. Experience in the specialty beats experience in other specialties.

2. No. Patients who need acute care are referred to the ER. It's really more the patients who years ago would have been given the appointments that are held open for urgent care by primary physicians. Heck, when I was a kid, my pediatrician met me in the office at midnight for stitches. Things have changed; offices now cram as many patients as possible into the day instead of holding appointments open for the things that come up- hence the need for urgent care centers.


Specializes in public health.

I think urgent care experience would be good if you want to be a family NP. It allows you to see a variety of cases that's not life-or-death (but you never know). I would not want to start my nursing career in ER unless you are not open to anything else. You are still growing as a nurse, so you may change what you want to do in a few years. I agree with previous posts that experience is better than no experience. If you are still learning new information at urgent care, and feel like you are gaining skills, I would consider it as a positive sign.


Specializes in None yet.....


Thanks for the feedback!

I am certainly learning almost everyday over here and I have been here since the beginning of Feb. However, I was hired at a lower-than-competitive wage with the understanding that within 3 months (as long as I am doing a satisfactory job) I would get an increase. I thought that getting an urgent care position (despite being underpaid and not considered a FT employee) would open doors for me in the long run, as far as getting into hospitals, and therefore chose this position over moving down South to a hospital that required a 3 year commitment.

If this experience will not get me an closer to earning a hospital position, I will begin looking for something else ASAP. The tough part is that I live in NYC, where the hospital market is saturated with nurses, resulting in 2/300 or so responses to my applications at local hospitals. If I have to get back on looking sooner than I thought, I will focus on Jersey hospitals.



Specializes in public health.

I still think you made the right decision for the time being. First of all, it's hard to get a job as a new grad in this market. Secondly, I would not work at a place that requires certain number of years of commitment. My interests may change, my personal life may change. If I decide to stay with one employer for the rest of my life it's better be my choice, not theirs. Urgent care the work you are in right now. Don't look back, but plan ahead. You can always apply to hospital jobs while you have a job. If you want to be a bedside or hospital nurse, I would network rather than job hopping. Join a professional organization, volunteer at a hospital.


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