New grad nurse - purposely work part time?


I'm graduating (BSN) in a few weeks. Don't regret going to nursing school, but I know it's not what I want to do forever (this applies to healthcare in general). I have various other interests. The problem with these interests is that they could never sustain a livable wage. My wife and I are financially stable and will likely remain that way, as long as I can bring in at least 40k.

So, I'm really interested in just nursing part-time from the get-go. I'm interested in public health, psych, non-profit (I suppose "less traditional" (read: hospital) fields?). Between the amount I can bring in doing my passion (i'll leave it purposely vague since it doesn't matter what it is) and working part-time, I'm pretty confident I could easily make enough to live happily.

Now, the question is: is getting part-time work (in those fields) as a new grad feasible? Is it something that NEVER happens? Is it likely?

In all honesty, if this worked out, I would likely leave nursing once the other stuff picked up enough to sustain my quality of life.

And, please, I'm not looking for anyone questioning my decision to enter this field in the first place (if that's the direction your response takes, you're not the kind of person I'm looking to for answers) - just hoping a few people might be able to address this particular situation. Thanks!

dudette10, MSN, RN

1 Article; 3,530 Posts

Specializes in Med/Surg, Academics. Has 12 years experience.

I've worked part-time as a floor nurse since Day 1, but my orientation was full-time. It was a position approved for only part-time, though, i.e. the hospital was hiring for part-time. I don't think it would be wise to accept a full-time position, then immediately ask for your hours to be reduced.

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

Graduation from a pre-licensure program (AD, BS, etc) does not produce clinical competency. Competency is achieved by applying what you learned in a practice setting. Although 'your mileage may vary', it usually takes at least a year for a new grad to be able to practice independently. That means a year of full-time work. So, it would take twice as long if you only work half as much.

As we all know here on AN, many organizations are simply not hiring new grads because of the time and expense it takes to help them become fully competent. The ones that are hiring new grads usually require them to participate in a formally structured program (internship, residency, etc) and agree to staying in the job at least as long as it takes for the organization to recoup the investment that they have made in the training period.

So - the likelihood of a reputable employer hiring a new grad into a part time slot right off the bat..... not very good. I don't know of any organization (hospital, home care, LTAC, LTC, etc.) that does this because they just can't afford it & won't subject their patients to unsupervised, not-yet-qualified staff. The job descriptions for part time & PRN positions usually have a 2 year experience requirement.

I envy your flexibility and admire your focus on what you really want from life, but you may have to put everything on the back burner for a year or so in order to meet the experience requirements for one of those flexible or part time gigs in an area you want.

FYI - you do realize that the majority of hospitals in the US are "non profit", right?

RNperdiem, RN

4,581 Posts

Has 14 years experience.

The majority of jobs for nurses are full time.

Those outnumber listings for part time by a great margin.

Instead of advertising for part time positions, you might see postings for per diem/PRN/casual, and these positions require experience and pay no benefits.

If you want to succeed in nursing even part time, you need a solid foundation of skills. Nursing school is like being tested on your knowledge of the swimming manual. Real nursing experience is like actually swimming(sharks optional).

Yes, part time is an option for you, but you will probably need to invest in a full time job at first.


1,030 Posts

Specializes in MCH,NICU,NNsy,Educ,Village Nursing.

Some hospitals will hire you for a part time position after a full time hours orientation. Those are rare, but it's possible. Why not ask around in your area to see if that's a possibility. It might be good for the employer too, especially if they can save on benefits. However, will part time work afford you enough hours for learning competent, safe care? That's something to consider too. I don't think I would take a full time job with the knnowledge that I planned to switch to part time asap--I'd be up front with a potential employer.


267 Posts

Seems like a lot of recent grads I know around here are being hired in as part-time. They are the lucky ones that have been PCAs for years, and that's all they can get. So yes, some places hire new part- timers.

allnurses Guide

Nurse SMS, MSN, RN

2 Articles; 6,837 Posts

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

It is pretty dubious that part-time nursing is going to pay 40K/yr in most places unfortunately. I understand discovering this is not what you want to do. Sometimes we have to put in time doing what we don't want to do on the way to what we do and it sounds like you understand that on some level but are hoping for an easier way.

I have never seen a new grad opening for part-time work. That doesn't mean you shouldn't look for it, but realistically you aren't likely to find it. When/If you do, it is unlikely to pay the kind of money you stated you needed to "live happily".

I know this is not what you want to hear. Do some research on your own, as I am sure you already are. I wish you the best of luck.

Specializes in L&D/Maternity nursing.

I was hired as per diem as a new grad. However, my orientation was full time, and once off, full time hours available. But I could always do less as my job description mandated x amount of hours in a 6 week period (which was actually less than part time). Perhaps look to go the per diem route if part time isnt available?

Has 25 years experience.

You may be able to find a reduced hour full-time position (usually 32 hr/wk or 64 hr/pay period), if you're lucky. And only if the employer has enough PRN staff available to fill the remaining hours of the FTE. This is more likely in shortage situations (rare, but do exist in some areas), so you may get lucky.

Either way, agree with pp, working full-time for a year will not put your plans on hold too much and give you much more options in the future. Actually, most new grads would be happy to get any job, any hours, just to get started.

Good luck!


99 Posts

Specializes in Pediatrics, Step-Down. Has 5 years experience.

You may be able to find a part time job somewhere, but you also may not. Not sure how long you can put your other plans on hold, but you could always work full time for a year then look for per diem jobs once you have a year of experience. Per diem jobs would allow you to work when you want and how much you want. Some weeks you could work 40 hours if you want the extra cash, others you could choose not work at all. Unfortunately very few employers are going to higher you as a per diem with no experience because per diem's usually are expected to just jump right in with very little orientation. Keep in mind that most full-time positions are 12 hour shifts 3 days a week. You'd have the other 4 days off to peruse your other interests, and you'd save up some money in the meanwhile. Realistically, I wouldn't expect to make $40,000 a year working part-time. I live in NYC where I make $80,000 full-time with night differential where we have one of the highest salaries/cost of living in the country. If you live in Southern California like your username implies, you would probably be making close to this if you worked night shifts. If you intend to work in a non-traditional setting you will likely be working during the day time and subsequently won't be making more than $30-$35,000 part time. Keep in mind it is a very competitive job market out in Southern California for any position, and most available are full-time (I applied to many positions out there). I definitely encourage you to look for that part-time job that you are imagining, but have a plan B if that doesn't work out. Unfortunately nursing is not as "flexible" as they used to say it was, especially for new grads. I would hate to see you with no job at all just because you are set on only getting a part-time position.


901 Posts

Has 5 years experience.

There are plenty of part time jobs for new nurses in my area, I am perplexed that so many posters are saying you will have a hard time getting a part time job. I worked fulltime as a new RN for a year and am now contingent, but plenty of my classmates from nursing school started out working in part time positions.


376 Posts

I've worked part time med-surg at a hospital since I graduated and passed NCLEX. The trend around here is to hire nurses as part time so the hospital doesn't have to pay nearly as much in employee benefits, then ask us to do extra shifts and work full time hours anyway (without FT benefits). So if you want part time, you don't have to rule out hospitals (quite the contrary) assuming this trend is nationwide, not just in my immediate area.