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New Grad: Moving When Husband Gets Orders

Nurse Beth   (3,484 Views 3 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

I will be graduating soon with my ADN, but my husband will be receiving orders 10 months after I graduate where we will be relocated to another state. I just discovered that the hospital that I want to work at will penalize a nurse $5,000 if they do not complete 2 years of service to offset the cost of training. It's completely understandable as training is expensive, but what would be for my career in the long run? Get some experience or wait to get a job at the next duty station?


Dear Moving When Husband Gets Orders,

Congrats on graduating soon...and that's a tough situation.

Here are some things for you and your husband to consider:

Are you comfortable accepting a position at a hospital when you know you will be leaving in 10 months? I am not really judging, just asking, as there are arguments to be made on both sides. Some people believe it's OK to do the most self-serving thing and justify it, and others do not. It is important to get some experience, but it's also important to be true to your own moral compass.

Is it an option to explain that you may only be able to work (about) 1 year due to your husband's military job, and that you understand you will pay back the money? It's possible they could prorate the amount based on how long you work. It's a risk to be transparent with them as they may not offer you a job, but your conscience would be clear and you would not have to keep secrets.

Waiting 10 months to start as a new grad poses a risk as well. There's a possibility you may not land a job within the "one year new grad status" window, depending on the employment situation in the state you are moving to. Then you are in the position of having no experience and not being eligible for a new grad residency.

Is a temporary separation an option for you and your husband? Is it possible for you to secure a job in the new state ahead of time (if you know where you're being transferred) and have your husband join you later?

Good luck on making your decision. I hope you will keep me posted.

Best wishes,

Nurse Beth

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Edited by tnbutterfly

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Given that it's a military transfer situation, they may be willing to waive the fee at that time (with documentation), but obviously you can't count on that ahead of time. Alternately, if you do explain your situation, they may be willing to hire you as a float or for per diem work so as not to get you settled into a single floor or department only to have you leave 10 months later.

If you have a professor or clinical supervisor you feel you can confide in, they may be able to offer advice based on your current location's job market and how flexible the local hospitals are where you are. They may have even encountered a similar situation in the past and have some insight on how it can be handled.

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I once lived and worked in an area with a military base and participated in a discussion where it was said that a very desirable hospital in the area was agreeable to hiring nurses with military spouses knowing that they would be subject to moving. I guess the benefits outweighed the risks.

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