Jump to content

Is this really a cushy job?

Nurse Beth   (899 Views 8 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

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

16 Followers; 98 Articles; 232,460 Profile Views; 1,962 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I graduated two months ago and landed a cushy, peds home health job -- it's easy and it pays well. I really want to become a psych and critical care nurse. Should I grab any behavioral health/ critical care nursing position just to get started or can I afford to wait for my dream position?

Dear Graduated Two Months Ago,

Usually home health is not recommended for newly licensed nurses because you lack the experience to make independent clinical decisions. That's why it's so important to gain foundational skills in a supportive setting.

Your first year as a clinician should not be easy or cushy. It's should be challenging and even overwhelming at times- for good reasons. 

Behavioral health nursing and critical care nursing are somewhat mutually exclusive career paths. Since you are undecided, seek out a critical care position. After 1-2 yrs, you will have a much clearer idea of where you'd like to specialize. With a critical care background, you will have plenty of options. With only a behavioral health background, you will have limited options.

Accepting a home health position right out of nursing school is not good timing for career opportunity. The window for a newly licensed nurse to land a great opportunity is roughly 1 year. After that, you are considered to be an experienced nurse, not a newly licensed nurse.

Being an experienced nurse with only home health experience will limit you when it comes to competing for a job, whereas newly licensed nurses are not expected to have any experience and are given longer orientations.

You really can't afford to wait.

Best wishes,Nurse Beth


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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

89 Posts; 1,007 Profile Views

Thank you.  I hope I don't have to take a pay cut.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,006 Posts; 47,670 Profile Views

18 hours ago, Queen Tiye said:

Thank you.  I hope I don't have to take a pay cut.

You very well may. It would be worth it in the long run. Don't sacrifice what you want for your life for what you have right now, especially if its just money.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

89 Posts; 1,007 Profile Views

Just now, not.done.yet said:

You very well may. It would be worth it in the long run. Don't sacrifice what you want for your life for what you have right now, especially if its just money.

I have children to support and that’s my priority.  For me, money is the most important thing, and practicing safely.  I’m in a BSN program so I get to be a new nurse again.  I’m also recovering from the unbelievable stress of living at sub-poverty level to get through nursing school without help — my soul is exhausted.

So I decided I’m going to sit on this low stress, well-paying job, with great benefits, and work on my accelerated RN-BSN program.  I’ll continue to apply for behavioral health positions because I’m going to be a Psych NP.  I’ll also get into the ICU/ ER/ step down at some point until I can be PRN there because I love more than one thing.  I’ve met people who moonlight in critical care and I think it will be exciting for a while.

I just love so many things in nursing.  I understand how important it is to get the guidance of experienced nurses and I want that.  I just have to figure out how to do it and get the hours that I want to be present for children.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nurse SMS has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 6,006 Posts; 47,670 Profile Views

All of that is great, but you are wrong about "getting to be a new nurse again". That doesn't happen. You have one year from passing NCLEX to be seen as a new nurse. After that, you are either an old new grad (no experience) or an experienced nurse. There isn't a reset button on that.

You will need to hammer down your priorities and go from there. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hoosier_RN has 20 years experience as a MSN and specializes in LTC, home health, hospice, ICU, ER, dialysis.

3 Followers; 1,579 Posts; 3,291 Profile Views

On 9/4/2019 at 7:55 AM, Queen Tiye said:

I’m in a BSN program so I get to be a new nurse again.

unfortunately, it doesn't work like that.  You are a RN once you pass NCLEX-RN, and at 1 year are considered experienced regardless of what setting you have experience.  In fact, some acute settings see that once you have a job, you no longer qualify for new grad programs.  It just depends how competitive the market is in your area.  BSN just may make you more marketable for the acute setting

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

kbrn2002 has 25 years experience as a ADN, RN and specializes in Geriatrics.

2,969 Posts; 29,148 Profile Views

I can't say if switching from a home health setting to behavioral health would mean a cut in pay for you or not. Very much depends on your locale. Where I live acute care nurses make quite a bit more in the hospital setting than nurses that work in outpatient, group homes  or home care settings.  There are of course always exceptions to the rule but not many.  Not only is it more money around here but experience in an acute care setting does make it easier for a nurse to transition later to different areas of nursing.   

While it's beneficial to gain experience with a broad patient population like you will find on a general nursing unit in a hospital if you already know you intend to specialize in behavioral health I don't see a problem with you focusing applications towards jobs in that field.  I also don't see a problem in you staying where you are for now.  If you find the job you are doing works for you while you are going to school why rock that boat unless an opportunity you just can't turn down falls in your lap? School, work and life are hard enough to juggle as it is without adding the stress of a new job adding to it.

Edited by kbrn2002

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

KarenMS has 2 years experience.

142 Posts; 2,277 Profile Views

If I were happy with my salary and not stressed out, I would just stay where I was while I finished school.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
×