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New Grad RN, BSN wants to know if working in SNF is a dead end?

First Year   (28,287 Views 17 Comments)
by FutureFlightRN FutureFlightRN (New Member) New Member

FutureFlightRN has 1+ years experience and works as a Emergency Department RN.

772 Visitors; 4 Posts

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Hello Nurses!

I graduated in December 2009 with my BSN, got my RN in February, and I have been job hunting for six months with only one panel interview at Stanford Hospital & Clinics and no job offers so far. I currently work part-time as a caregiver for a staffing agency. My client lives in a skilled nursing facility and I have been presented an opportunity to work at this SNF as an RN. But, I have had two hospitals tell me, "Whatever you do, do not work in a nursing home" and "If you ever want to work at _________ Hospital, you must have at least one year experience as an RN from a different hospital."

This makes me feel that working at a SNF could be a career ender for a New Grad RN, BSN. What do you think?

Your thoughts and wisdom are very appreciated! :-)

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TheCommuter has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN and works as a Case Management RN.

1 Follower; 228 Articles; 315,931 Visitors; 27,607 Posts

I'm a newer RN with four years of work experience as an LVN/LPN. Virtually all of my work experience has been in nursing homes and LTC facilities.

I have seen many of my coworkers with years of nursing home experience get hired at local hospitals who are willing to train. One of my coworkers worked at the same nursing home for more than six years and was hired at a local hospital. Another coworker spent two years at a nursing home before being hired onto an ICU at a major hospital. Several of my nursing home coworkers have moved onto hospital jobs in med/surg, rehab, psych, womens' health, and other specialties. It depends on whether you can get the hospital interview, as well as how good you interview.

However, I should caution you to mention that these events took place between 2006 and 2009. There's a downturn in healthcare currently, so employers can pick and choose who they want. However, this downturn is not sustainable in the long term due to all of the middle-aged baby boomers who will become elderly within the next ten years. When the boomers do enter the healthcare system en masse, I feel that hospitals will be willing to train anyone. Good luck to you!

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Little_Mouse works as a RN.

6,243 Visitors; 146 Posts

It's NOT a dead end. Initially, I had feared that too, but my friend and former NS classmate proved the both of us wrong. She had worked at a nursing home for 9 months and during that time she kept plugging away with applications to hospitals all throughout the state and a few out of state. She did get 3 job offers (2 of them were in the same hospital but different units. Now she is working in a med/surg unit and also took a per diem job in a step down ICU floor. So, it can be done with time, patience and perserverance!

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FutureFlightRN has 1+ years experience and works as a Emergency Department RN.

772 Visitors; 4 Posts

Thanks for your input! I've been really struggling with this idea of working in a nursing home. It's good to hear that this is not a career ender, it just means that it may take a little longer than I had originally planned to reach my goals. But, with this economy I can't be too picky.

I'm very excited to learn that you can go from nursing home to ICU (because I need ICU experience to be a flight nurse) and that after 9 months experience you can get a hospital job. This is very encouraging news for me. Yay!

I hope more people will comment on this thread and share their thoughts. :-)

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644 Visitors; 4 Posts

I don't know why the hospital told you not to work in LTC? Many people I graduated with have only seemed to get into the hosptial setting as an new grad if they have worked in the hospital setting previously as a patient care tech. Others who have worked in healthcare in other capacities have going into SNF and LTC.

As far as I'm concerned, I have only have found LTC and am taking it. My feeling is that after so many months, you lose skills and knowledge. The very few new grad programs in hospitals here state the programs are only for new grads within the last 6 months. Experience is experience. My plan is go to LTC then a SNF, figure it's a step up from LTC. From there, I'm going to try for hosptials...but without experience, I don't expect to get into any speciality. So perhaps med surg, but will try for others too. Thats my course of action, and I think I will be successful though it will take a long time to get where I really want to go!

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JenniferSews works as a Nurse Educator.

9,781 Visitors; 655 Posts

Having no job as a new grad is the dead end. :lol2: I don't know, to be honest. SNF was the second to last place on earth I ever wanted to be in my nursing career. But I work in subacute rehab and am surprised to find I love it. I don't intend on ever leaving this field. In fact I recently turned down a very cushy job offer from a former employer because no matter how nice it sounded I didn't want to leave my field. So don't necessarily knock it until you try it.

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RNDreamer works as a Nurse.

15,655 Visitors; 1,237 Posts

Experience as an RN with patient care = experience. It is better than having no RN experience at all.

Definitely take the job. Good luck!!!!!

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FutureFlightRN has 1+ years experience and works as a Emergency Department RN.

772 Visitors; 4 Posts

Thanks everyone for your comments. You have opened my eyes to the possibility of working in a SNF. I feel alot better knowing that this is not the worst thing that could happen. I'm seriously considering this opportunity and I have submitted my resume to the DON at this SNF.

Now, just to play devil's advocate... Is there anyone out there who believes a SNF is a dead end, or has heard horror stories of nurses who got stuck working in a SNF with no place to move or grow professionally?

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13,255 Visitors; 2,801 Posts

I think it can be difficult to make a move out of a SNF, but not impossible. You would probably be facing some discouragement from hospital recruiters and may need an extra dose of self-confidence and persistance and luck to get someone to give you an opportunity.

So I wouldn't recommend it if you had a choice between SNF and strong hospital new grad program. But if your choice is SNF or NO job... well, a year without ANY work as new grad probably isn't going to leave you any better placed than someone with SNF experience.

A lot depends upon your own situation as well. If you've got resources to not work as an RN for awhile or if you've got bills and loans knocking down the door, that makes a difference as well. Also, what are the working conditions of the specific facility? Are you comfortable with the level of responsibility you may have as RNs often serve a charge nurse? Just because an employer is willing to hire a new grad doesn't mean that they'll give them the support they may need.

If there's a choice (and depending on where you are and today's economy, there might not be a choice), there are some sub-acute facilities that aren't hospitals but have a higher acuity patient than a standard nursing home. Some nursing homes have a special wing for higher acuity patients. That type of unit would probably be better for trying to get a hospital job later.

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JenniferSews works as a Nurse Educator.

9,781 Visitors; 655 Posts

I have one friend who was "stuck" in LTC for a while. She graduated May 09 and had a hard time finding any job. She finally landed a LTC job and now, a bit over a year later, is moving to an LTAC. From there I am sure she can move to a hospital if she wants in a few more months. But imho you have a better chance at getting an interview and talking your way in if you have some sort of experience as a nurse.

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lovenandj, RN has 5 years experience.

7,394 Visitors; 221 Posts

I've been working in psych for the last 10 months, and while I haven't found an acute care job yet, I don't necessarily feel like my time was wasted. It was and is my only option at this point. Even though my technical skills are shriveling up :down: I am using my broader nurse skills (time management, delegation, critical thinking), which I take every opportunity to broadcast in every cover letter I write, and interview I go on.

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518 Visitors; 4 Posts

Not for me. Working in a SNF was a great building block for me. I worked in LTC for about a year before starting on a neuro floor at a local hospital. That year was invaluable to me and my transition in to nursing. It helped me to further develop my orgranization and delegation skills, and helped me to build confidence. Now, in an acute care setting, I can concentrate on building my skills now that I have the other stuff down. Experience is experience, and it certainly didn't hurt my chances of getting into acute care.

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