Looking for advice on finding my first job


Hello (sorry in advance for the long post, I just want to tell the full background to ensure I get advice from informed readers!!),

I graduated with my ADN in August 2017 and passed NCLEX-RN in October 2017.

I live in Pennsylvania and I currently work in a large hospital right near my house as a nursing assistant, for about 18 months (during nursing school and I still currently work there).

Before I move on, I just want to say a few background things:

1) I understand that as a brand new nurse, I have no business being picky. That is NOT my intention.

2) I have pretty bad anxiety and PTSD from an incident 4 years ago. It doesn't affect how I am with patients or anything, however I am afraid to be out at night.

3) My dad is currently pretty sick (COPD, CHF, septic shock) and it's very hard...if he passes, which he probably will within a year, this will be my first "big loss" and combined with my anxiety issues, I'm already falling apart 24/7.

4) My family is trying to be together because of my dad's condition and weekends are usually the time when they get together with him. Holidays are also extremely important to my dad and most of my family travels in only for holidays. If you see where I'm getting at, I know I will likely work some/many weekends and holidays as a nurse, especially a new nurse. This fact adds greatly to my anxiety, the fact that I am missing out on these moments that are important to me, my dad and my other family members.

5) Just in my job as a nursing assistant over the past few months, I've had a few call-outs on some of my evening or weekend shifts due to anxiety about being away while my whole family is with my dad, or just my general anxiety acting up more than usual about the whole situation.

Now, with all of that being said, I have been dealing with this problem of mine for about 4 years and I take medication, go to therapy, have well-practiced coping skills, and like I said once I get to work, I do my job right and I put safety for myself and everyone else before anything. I feel that I honestly do a good job of dealing with this problem.

So why I'm asking for advice is this: in choosing my first job, I want to have a smart set-up. I am willing to take what I can realistically get, but I want to at least make some kind of an effort to give myself weekends/holidays (even just some) off so that I can be with my family and reduce anxiety in that area. Also, obviously I will try to work daytime hours to minimize the anxiety, but again if I have to work evenings/nights, so be it. I can handle whatever is thrown my way, but I don't want to be constantly taking a mental/emotional beating and having panic attacks and meltdowns about going to work if there's something out there that can better meet my needs/preferences.

I truly do like being in a hospital setting - I think it's cool and exciting and I love action. I just hate the schedule and the stress over the schedule almost isn't worth it. But the job itself, although challenging and exhausting at times (and this is just as a CNA), is worth it and makes me feel like I'm learning and doing something important. I do love to help people.

I feel like I would rather work somewhere that is only open weekdays - closes at night, on weekends and holidays. A doctor's office, perhaps an outpatient setting like same day procedures or something. I would benefit greatly from those hours mentally and emotionally, I don't mind a pay cut (I know hospitals pay more than these places), and I would still be doing hands-on patient stuff, getting to help people, and feeling "cool/important" although the action of the hospital like codes and stuff wouldn't be there. I feel that these places would also have a less stressful day-to-day environment which would also benefit me.

I've also gotten a few interviews (and an offer) for a position in a business setting. It pays decent, it is NOT contract (permanent, full time), daytime hours with an occasional weekend which is fine, no holidays, right near my house, and an opportunity to work from home sometimes (inclement weather, etc). The benefits are great, the place is beautiful (I stopped over and toured it) and the nurses who work there seem truly happy. I would be helping patients, but over the phone. It is non-clinical and there isn't any hands-on experience. I am very tempted to take this, but I worry about later - what if the job doesn't work out (what if I get laid off, what if I end up hating it, what if I decide later I want hands-on) would I be stuck?

I spoke to a trusted family friend, nurse of 20 years, and employee at the hospital that I currently work at. She knows my situation and she said her personal opinion/advice is to find a job within the hospital that I currently work - any job I can get, even though it'd be many weekends and holidays and maybe even nights, and stay for 1-2 years to get that on my resume. And when that time is up, go work at the office setting or an outpatient type of place. Then if they don't work out, I'll have that med-surg hospital experience to open up my options so that I won't be out of a job.

This sounds like a good plan to me, but I am so scared of taking a hospital job for 1-2 years. The thought of the anxiety I would have, the thought of this year possibly being my dad's last year alive, and me spending half of those weekends and half of those holidays away from him and family absolutely kill me. On the other hand, if I take the office job (which I truly think is perfect for my situation at the moment), I don't want to risk killing my career and being stuck in a tough situation later down the line.

I plan to get my BSN right away (I'll have it within a year - getting it online), and I am not sure yet if I am getting my master's. I am considering it, but it'll depend where I am in my life. I know that if I become a nurse practitioner, my options will open up a ton as well. I don't want to depend on that though, incase I end up choosing not to pursue that degree.

I just moved in with my boyfriend of 3 years, and we have discussed marriage and he told me in September to expect a ring within the year (his way of making sure I would say yes, I guess!) So I will be getting engaged sometime in the next 10 months, and then a wedding a year or so after that, and then probably kids a year or two after getting married. I am currently 23 years old... I have friends and stuff but a social life isn't a priority for me (especially after it basically died in nursing school..haha). I don't care about parties or drinking or going out on weekends. I would rather spend most of my spare time with my family, and my friends and I make an effort to meet up now and then but it usually ends up being on like, a Tuesday at 6pm because we all have very different schedules.

So I am literally braindead and overwhelmed trying to make the right choices here. I want that office setting - the pay, the hours, the benefits - it's like everything I want and will minimize the anxiety about being out at night/not seeing my family enough, but I'm just afraid of not having that clinical experience on the resume incase that job isn't a good fit down the line.

Sorry again for this post being so long. I have gotten so much mixed advice from people and I wanted the full, thorough story to be told so that all factors can be carefully considered by all of you wonderful people! I am always looking up posts on this website and I love the amazing feedback that others get.

I also would like to reiterate incase it was not super duper clear, I have absolutely no feeling of entitlement of having the perfect schedule, I do not have high expectations/demands as a new graduate, I do not expect special treatment anywhere due to my family situation or personal anxiety problems. I just wanted you guys to understand all of my deepest issues and thoughts and preferences to try to help guide me toward the best fit for me. I hope that nobody thinks I am being a brat here, and I seriously would not appreciate any negative judgement, or anything like that. I am just looking up to you guys and hoping for some information to help put things into perspective, based on your experiences/knowledge/opinions.

Thank you all so very much!!


ETA: Forgot to mention! My boyfriend works at a healthcare place with the telephone nurses (not the one I have the offer for, but same type of place) and the nurses he works with told him to tell me that they love it, and that if I want clinical experience under my belt I can just work per diem at the hospital on a med-surg unit and do that once or twice a month, even if it's a weekend or night shift. They said that I'll be able to say no as much as I want to and I'll probably have a small requirement of working once a month or something to keep the job. I wouldn't be able to do that too much anyway if I'm working the office full time. That way I'll get that experience, to put on my resume and help me have better options if the office setting doesn't work out, but I'll still get to take the office job and have the ideal hours to minimize anxiety and give me the family time I need. Could this be the solution? Or is a per-diem job not good enough to count as the "few years of med surg" experience that I should get? Thanks again xo

Sour Lemon

5,016 Posts

Has 13 years experience.

Most people want to work fewer weekends and fewer holidays. Their reasons are important to them and your reasons are important to you.

I'd suggest you take the job(s) with requirements that you can actually handle. And don't expect co-workers and employers to care a whole lot about your problems as they will all have problems of their own.


151 Posts

I agree with your family friend about the hands on experience, be it at the hospital or elsewhere. If you decide you want hands on work down the road, it may be harder since you will not have ever done it as a nurse (aside from clinicals at school). That being said, you definitely have to do what is best for you. I know you said you are working on your anxiety, but it sounds like it is still a major part of your life and may not be as well managed as it could be.

I completely understand your concern about missing time with your family, especially with your father right now, but you have to remember that you can make other special moments and memories when you have the time to do it. If you end up working 12 hour shifts at the hospital, you could have 3 days off a week. They may not always be weekends, but they are days you could do something special with your father. And who knows, maybe that will give you more one on one time with him. One thing I learned, thanks to being a nurse and having a husband in the military, is that you can celebrate special occasions anytime that works for you. You can make new traditions that work for your new lifestyle/schedule. Good luck!


5,039 Posts

What kind of telephonic nursing will you be doing?

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

Hands on experience is important. Almost any job you might want down the line will require it to the tune of 2-5 years experience.

I am sympathetic to your situation with your anxiety and also with your father. All that being said, everyone has something going on. As you age you will learn, tragedy comes to everyone. Everyone's biggest problem is THEIR biggest problem and very few will see your issues with family and anxiety and Dad as bigger than their own. If you want this kind of nursing experience you are going to have to accept that you will have to work holidays and weekends. Almost everyone wants those times off too and many of them for reasons every bit as compelling as yours.

I wish you luck in whatever you decide and am sending your family love and light.


9 Posts

Thanks for all of the replies! I appreciate it so much. You all make a great point that everyone has problems and it's all about perspective. As I said in the original post I would never expect any special treatment, etc and I don't plan to go into my new job and go around talking about my personal issues. I probably typed wayyy too much info but I just wanted to give the 100% full story so you guys knew exactly where I'm at in my head trying to make a decision!

It sounds to me like I should get about 2 years of hospital experience first, make the best of the days/times I'm not working even if the schedule sucks, and then try to move into something with a more ideal setup for me and wherever my life is at that time. To the person who suggested maybe my anxiety isn't as in control as I might think - you are probably right, and I am seeing that more now with the family situation. My concern with taking a hospital job first is the stress/anxiety issues building up and interfering with or jeopardizing the job.

Thank you all so much! You've given me more to think about. :)


1 Post

Can anyone tell me is there any field to work as a RN if I am afraid of doing blood draw and IV insertion. I plan to get second degree nursing in Spring 2018.


llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.

Think of it this way: Whichever choice you make, there will be a price to pay. Both choices have a "down side." Which price are you willing/able to pay? Make a choice, and be willing to pay the price -- knowing that you chose to pay that price.

I would choose the hospital job because there are probably things you can do to minimize that price. If you don't get a clinical job now, it will be extremely difficulty to get one later. Also, even though you will miss some weekends/holidays with your Dad ... you'll get some extra time with him during the week -- when other family members won't be around so much -- you'll get some valuable time with him alone to make very special memories with just the two of you. Those special private times with your Dad might mean a lot more to you in the long run than a few more weekends with a crowd around. It's not like you will never see your family -- you just won't see them every weekend. But you'll still be spending private time with your Dad.

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,840 Posts

Specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development. Has 12 years experience.

That is an excellent point and, frankly, one that your family will value. Having someone available on week days is a HUGE blessing when a family member is ill.

llg, PhD, RN

13,469 Posts

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 46 years experience.
That is an excellent point and, frankly, one that your family will value. Having someone available on week days is a HUGE blessing when a family member is ill.

I speak from experience. Both my parents are dead. It's not the big, family events that stand out in my memories, it's the small private moments we shared.