It’s been 3 years since I graduated and don’t have bedside experience.

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by Streetnurse42 Streetnurse42 (New) New Nurse

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I’ve worked in community (eg home healthcare, public health, etc.) since I graduated from nursing school in 2018. I love community nursing and did not want to work in a hospital setting.

But my friend encouraged me to apply for a job posting at her hospital. I’m going to give it a try and I know I will have a hard time securing a hospital job due to my lack of acute care experience. It’s in a med-surg position and has 8 weeks of orientation for those who do not have relevant experience. 

How can I address this gap to hiring managers? Or should I work in a nursing home first? I live in Canada and we don’t have SNFs. Thanks for your advice. 

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 5 years experience.

You don't really have a gap in your employment. You were a community nurse. 

Are you asking for interview advice? 

If so, think about the following things before your interview.

What did you learn as a community nurse that will help you be a better hospital nurse? You have a unique perspective working on the other side. 

I've worked community as well, but in the USA where community nursing is more limited. I've learned that good communication  between the inpatient team and the outpatient team is essential to the patient's success and well being. 

Also think about why you want to make the change of environment. Just be honest with hiring professionals. Is it better income? Do you want a challenge? Upward mobility? 

 

Davey Do

Specializes in around 25 years psych, 15years medical. Has 42 years experience.

I didn't get actual bedside experience for the first eight years of my nursing career, having worked psych, surgery, and CD treatment before getting a position in med surg.

SpokesAndCoffee, ADN

Specializes in ICU.

Talk to a recruiter, tell them that you are looking to transition to bedside care, and see what they say. Don't just assume that they wouldn't have you. Plenty of new grads get jobs without prior experience. That said, I think the main hurdle might be the strength of your core nursing skills after three years of disuse. Maybe look into a refresher course if needed.

Core nursing skills are not missing from community nursing and home care. If anything those nurses are even more on the line to make accurate assessments and come up with feasible plans and reevaluate interventions without easy access to other nurses and physicians who can put eyes on the patient.

In fact I would think that talking about the scenario and responsibilities of out-of-hospital nursing would be a good thing. It isn't like it doesn't apply. What many people are really talking about when they talk about the "skills" involved in hospital nursing are hospital policies and the ins-and-outs of the whole 3-ring-circus and the constant drama that you have to learn to navigate. Things like the 5 rights, the core assessment skills, communications skills, the ethics, etc., etc. are the same whether you're in an ICU or at a homeless clinic.

Don't sell yourself short. Sell yourself as being capable of applying your knowledge and education in a different setting.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

If you love community nursing why would you want to leave?

FolksBtrippin, BSN, RN

Specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Community, Nurse Manager. Has 5 years experience.

44 minutes ago, SpokesAndCoffee said:

Talk to a recruiter, tell them that you are looking to transition to bedside care, and see what they say. Don't just assume that they wouldn't have you. Plenty of new grads get jobs without prior experience. That said, I think the main hurdle might be the strength of your core nursing skills after three years of disuse. Maybe look into a refresher course if needed.

You don't lose core nursing skills working in the community. 

 

45 minutes ago, Jedrnurse said:

If you love community nursing why would you want to leave?

I feel my lack of acute care experience is starting to show in my performance. When I was working in home healthcare, I had some clients who would have been better helped by someone with more years of experience. Acute care experience will help strengthen my assessment skills as well as communication with the interdisciplinary members. 

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

5 minutes ago, Streetnurse42 said:

I feel my lack of acute care experience is starting to show in my performance. When I was working in home healthcare, I had some clients who would have been better helped by someone with more years of experience. Acute care experience will help strengthen my assessment skills as well as communication with the interdisciplinary members. 

If I were you, I'd just double down on the professional development instead of jumping on the hospital merry-go-round. A lot of people are miserable in that area, for good reason(s).

When I went into school nursing I was a little worried because I'd never done peds. To compensate, instead of trying to get a peds job, I identified things integral to the specialty and focused on reviewing and studying those.

I wouldn't discourage someone from trying something new especially if they know how it makes sense for their life, but definitely agree this is not the time in history for FOMO over hospital nursing. AT ALL.

That’s very good advice, thank you Jedsnurse. Right now I’m working as a part of COVID response team; I go around and vaccinate community members. On other days, I work in case management. This is a contract so I’ll have to look for a new job before it ends.

the problem is that I do not know where I want to go next. I would love to work in a paediatrics hospital as I had some experience of working with kids in home healthcare. If anyone has suggestions, I would appreciate it. Thanks everyone! 

SmilingBluEyes

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis. Has 24 years experience.

Hell I would skip the beside altogether. It' ain't where it's at. Most are miserable any more. Just develop your skills where you are. You are lucky to be where you are.