MI new grad wants non-traditional role; any chance?


Just graduated from EMU in SE MI and my dreams are broad as a new grad looking to explore opportunities to find my best fit, however I am certain I will not be happy with the med-surg floor grind. I am reluctant to take these jobs (even if I could find one willing to hire a new grad) because at age 28 I feel that I do not want to waste any time if I have the choice to putz around doing floor nursing when I need to be building skills and gaining experience in areas I'm more likely to pursue as a long-term career.

I know I can't do all of these interests without experience and that there is good reason, but some of them should be accessible to a new grad right?

Public Health

Ambulatory / clinic both free/charity and private practice

Urgent care



Case management


Out-patient procedures / ambulatory surgery

Cosmetic surgery / weight loss

Occupational health

I want to explore any or all of these, especially all of the community and outpatient options. There are other roles I would like as well, but most of those I know for sure would require years of exp like case management.

The horrible part is that there aren't even options for traditional med-surg floor jobs available to new grads in my area. I have applied for all positions I think I might be able to make the qualifications, as well as those that I don't meet but thought I'd throw my hat in anyway.

I went into nursing to work for free clinics for adolescents or disadvantaged mothers / pregnant. Does anyone know how to get into any of these roles as a new grad? People describe 'falling into' these roles or retreating to them because they might be less physically taxing, but this is what I WANT!

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

I understand your conundrum.

(Bear with me for a moment) US nursing school programs, unlike that of other practice professions, do not currently include a terminal practicum/residency for completion because we have always relied on hospitals to provide transition programs for new grads - maybe this will change in the future.

But for now, new grads need work experience to 'finish' their training before they are really competent to practice independently. However, some of the jobs you listed are part of what we can refer to as the "illness treatment continuum". This means that they involve care immediately pre- or post-hospitalization or services that are associated with illness treatment (urgent care, ED, Case Management). Some of the jobs are simply 'illness care' in an alternative setting (corrections, ambulatory surgery). In order to practice in these settings, you will need to have an acute care skill set. This is particularly true for jobs that require an in-depth understanding of how treatment occurs in various settings as well as treatment options and how they are managed (e.g. case management).

If you explore the qualifications listed for those alternative jobs, you will probably find that they are seeking candidates with this type of foundational knowledge... essentially a nurse who has 'finished' his/her nursing education with practical work experience. These settings rarely have the type of formal transition/training program required by new grads. They are seeking staff who can confidently and quickly step into those roles and function at a high level with very little backup.

Working in a non-acute setting also has career consequences. These settings have less stress, but also lower salaries and virtually no career advancement opportunities. If you discover that you don't really like it &/or are seeking higher salary, advanced practice or career advancement - you'll need to move back into an acute care setting. This is extremely difficult to do without recent experience.

Good luck!