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Is Acute Psych Career Suicide?

Nurse Beth   (230 Views 1 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm a new grad and was offered two different positions

One on an acute psych floor. This job has better pay, better benefits, weekends off and they aren't requesting that I sign a new grad commitment contract. I actually really liked and connected with the unit manager. This would also enable me to work per diem on weekends at a nearby pediatric hospital. (I eventually want to get in to peds but without a bachelor's or experience it's just too competitive to get hired on as full time right now. I won't have a bachelor's until next year. Plus I don't have to extra funds to get all the extra certs they want.)

The second job is on a step down unit. The hospital doesn't take in stemi, stroke or trauma patients. They also want a commitment of 3 years. I will of course work weekends and because of the scheduling my ability to try and get in to peds would be limited. 

Is it career suicide to take the psych position? I could really use the medical benefits. This psych facility does also have an ED so I could get ED experience while I'm there. 

I'm just afraid that other hiring managers won't view my psych experience with respect. I'll end up being "the least qualified" candidate. 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated

Dear New Grad,

On the one hand, you have better pay, better benefits, weekends off, and a manager you like On the other hand you have less pay, weekends, and a 3 yr contract. Those are the measurable variables, but how they align with your long-term goals may be more important.

I would not include which other job you may or may not work as per diem as a deciding factor because it will carry far less weight than where you work in your full-time position.

Neither position is ideal for you but the behavioral health position is less ideal. Even though the SDU is low acuity, you'll gain a lot of transferable skill sets, such as time management. If you eventually apply to Peds, you will have a better chance applying from SDU than from Behavioral Health.

Best wishes in your decision,

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!


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