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Is my med-surg experience for nothing?

Nurses   (645 Views 2 Comments)
by The Lady Kate The Lady Kate (Member)

5,002 Visitors; 44 Posts


I have been a med/surg/tele/psych nurse in a 300 bed community hospital for a little over a year now, and I have my eyes set on ER. I feel like I got some great experience working here, and my manager and schedule are awesome. The hospital is less than 10 minutes from my house, so I would like to stay here long-term preferably. I'm starting to get bored with the unit, and working nights there isn't usually as much going on to pique my interests, as I like to keep busy. The issue is I would like to get into ER, but my hospital requires 1 year of ER experience to apply. We have a transition program that is occasionally open, but requires 2 years of floor experience. My question is do I stay on my unit another year and wait to apply and hope to get in? Or should I go elsewhere to get that 1 year of ER experience and come back? At the same time, I've always had a desire to work at the local trauma level 1 hospital where I did clinicals which is the busiest in the state, our ER is level 2. I'm just worried if I moved I would be making a mistake, but if I stay I wouldn't be getting the "trauma hospital" experience I seem to desire. I don't discount my med-surg experience, but it doesn't seem to count toward my ultimate goals. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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Double-Helix has 6 years experience and works as a Nurse, Children's Hospital.

5 Likes; 40,997 Visitors; 3,375 Posts

In my opinion, it depends on your long term career and life goals. For me, nursing was (and is) a profession I chose because it allowed me to use my skill set, offered intellectual stimulation, paid well, and allowed me the flexibility to choose a job/schedule that was suitable to raising a family. I didn't have a goal or passion to work in a certain specialty, obtain a graduate degree, become an NP, or anything else. I am where I am in my career primarily by walking through doors that happened to open- not because I sought out advancement or prestige.

My point is- evaluate where you are in life and ask yourself what will make you happy. Are you married and thinking about having children? If so, maybe staying in the job close to home and sticking it out until you have an opportunity to transfer to the ED is the way to go. Is the idea of working in a trauma center really what drives you and will bring you satisfaction? If so, it may be worth the commute and change to get the experience you desire. It also could be a temporary move. Get your level 1 experience and then move back to the hospital close to home. Remember that people and plans change. You may not like the ER as much as you expect to. You may meet someone and decide to relocate. We can only make decisions based on the information we have available right now. Maybe try making a pros/cons list and then prioritizing those in order of importance.

A "mistake" is a retrospective label. Unless you're mindfully and intentionally doing wrong, a decision that you made with the best intentions isn't something you can blame yourself for. Considering your options and doing what you feel is right for you is not a mistake, even if it doesn't turn out the way you expect it to.

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