Quote from Shan0922
Sorry, I should have been more clear. But what was the biggest obstacle job wise, such as, (time management, job skills, learning their system for documentation...). Also what was the toughest part of getting your first job? I would like to start in the ICU (that is where I just finished precepting) but am slightly afraid of getting in over my head at first. Would it be smarter to go into something like med surf first?
When I graduated, there was such a nursing shortage that the state legislature was talking about solving the problem by forcing females on welfare to become nurses. Fortunately, that extremely ill-considered plan never came to fruition. I applied for three jobs in two different hospitals and got five offers within a week. I chose a smaller community hospital because I thought it would be eaasier to fit in. That may have been a mistake -- they had their own diploma program and I was a BSN grad. They'd never had a BSN grad before. They had no idea what to do with me. I think they thought I'd hit the floor running like their own grads, and that wasn't the case. I'd had eight hours of clinical a week compared to their grads' eight hours a day. It was a very hard transition for me. I HAD no job skills to speak of. Oh, I'd had lots of jobs, but none of them were in health care.
Time management was an issue, but the biggest problem for me was simply talking to people. I was afraid to talk to the patients, the physicians or even my colleagues. It took me a long time to get comfortable with that -- more than the usual one year.
The documentation was a nightmare -- all paper in those days, and designed for the convenience of disciplines other than nursing. It took a few weeks to learn that.
I learned my job from the bottom up, so to speak. The NAs took me under their wing and taught me basic skills like vital signs, clean-ups, weighing a patient, how to set up a meal tray, etc. The LPNs taught me about time management, passing meds, signing off orders, dressing changes, how to place an NG tube (and what to do with it once you've placed it), Foley care . . . the list goes on and on. The team leaders taught me how to hang blood, chemo, mix antibiotics . . .
Although mine is an unpopular opinion these days, I think most new grads are better served by NOT going into ICU right away. Med/Surg is a good option, but so is oncology or neuro or ortho or even a step down unit. Learn the basics -- how to talk to people, manage your time, think critically, drop an NG, place a Foley THEN transfer to the ICU and learn about invasive monitoring, rhythms, ventilators, etc. Some new grads do fine in ICU, but not as many as think they do.
Good luck with finding your first job. The learning curve is steep, but it's well worth it!