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New Grad Interested in Leaving Bedside

by AZNewRN AZNewRN (New) New Nurse

Specializes in Pediatric Nurse. Has 2 years experience.


I am a new grad RN currently working on a pediatric med-surg floor. I started in October 2019 and have been on my own since December 2019. So far, the team working on my floor has been great, understanding and supportive, some of the patient loads I can handle and some are more challenging (to be expected) but something still feels off and I feel like I have not become comfortable yet compared to the other new grad nurses that started with me. Some days I feel like everything I do is wrong, I forget to chart something (even though I did it) and I am noticing it is negatively effecting my sleep and personal life by constantly feeling anxious and stressed. I always knew that I did not want to do bedside nursing forever and I eventually see myself as a public health nurse. So my question is how long should a new nurse stay at bedside before venturing off to a new non-bedside job?

Thank you in advance for your responses 🙂

TriciaJ, RN

Specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory. Has 40 years experience.

Conventional wisdom leans toward staying put for at least a year. The learning curve is very steep for that first year which is why you're still feeling off balance. Do not judge yourself according to how your peers appear to be doing.

Meanwhile, focus on getting good at what you're doing. You'll be glad you did. Try not to get in the habit of stressing about work when you're at home (easy to say).

You can also start scoping out the vacancies to see what might be worth considering when the time comes. When you can put a whole year on a resume you'll be more marketable. Hang in there.

Nurse580, MSN, RN

Specializes in Ortho/Neuro, General Medicine, Critical Care. Has 5 years experience.


I am currently in a similar position- actually applied for a job in your- waiting for the offer to be finalized. But I feel similarly when you talk about mental health impact- I am making a transition for myself before I feel the need to quit nursing altogether.

Get out as quick as you can. However, consider that once you leave bedside, it will be harder to get back in. So you better be sure! I left hospital nursing after 4 months and have never looked back. That was 15 years ago. I've been lucky enough to try several things before setting into working in public health. Don't waste your time being miserable! The old "requirement" of staying for a year is antiquated just like not being allowed to have tattoos. Times have changed.

laflaca, BSN, RN

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 7 years experience.

I thought the period from 6-9 months in (as a new grad) was the worst of it....so you're in the worst of it. But it really does get noticeably better. And if it's any comfort, I had the exact same thoughts about the other new grads around me - they're more confident, they learn faster, they know what they're doing. Only later did I realize that some of the "confident" ones were confidently doing things incorrectly, some of the fast learners struggled with things that I already understood, and none of them knew what they were doing any more than I did. We each had different strengths and weaknesses, but I was hyperaware of my deficits 🙂

I didn't want to be a hospital nurse either - I started applying for other jobs when I got close to a year of experience, moved on to public health, and then school nursing.

You are approaching the top of the hill, and it's going to get easier (not easy! but the OK days start to outnumber the awful days, and then you have actual good days too). Don't give up quite yet!

I'm a new grad too and this all has been nightmarish since October when I started. First, I was hired into my dream unit only to feel incredibly overwhelmed and stressed out by the acuity and fast paced environment. Then I got to move over to a slower similar unit in December and fell in love with it!! Unfortunately, due to COVID and the fact that my 6 year old has severe asthma along with a mother in law who lives with us who has colon cancer, I had to resign last month. Devastation!! That's a whole other sad sack story...but I will say...maybe try a different unit? From clinical, I got the feeling med surge was like a nursing factory. Pushing meds, changing bandages, positioning, etc. I thought for sure I was an awful nurse but turns out, I am pretty good when doing what it was I was actually good at. I'd thinking exploring other options within your hospital system might be better than just hanging it up at 6 months. Looks better on a resume no doubt!