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New Grad starting during COVID advice?

by Lizon Lizon (New) New Nurse

Any advice for new grads starting jobs during COVID-19?

I passed my NCLEX at the end of February so I had just started applying to jobs in the beginning of March before everything shut down a couple weeks later. I’m starting a new job as a new grad nurse next week..excited for many reasons like starting my career..except it’s in the middle of a pandemic so I can’t help but also be terrified. Does anyone have any advice for me? Others have questioned why I would want to even start a job during this time and have made me feel as I am making a poor decision. I already accepted and haven’t started so I can’t go back now but the fear for my health is obviously evident. Am I making the right choice? Am I putting myself in danger? I guess the difference is I’m choosing to work in COVID-19 but this was also unforeseen. They also say your first year is a big learning curve especially with new careers. Would you work if you didn’t have to? I’m trying to stay positive and not think negatively about the situation but it’s hard at times not to. My unit is a stepdown so I wouldn’t be surprised if there are COVID patients. People don’t understand why I would apply to jobs and start one at this time.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 29 years experience.

COVID will be around for awhile so if you want to wait for a "safe" time to start working as a nurse you may be unemployed for a long while. (not to mention the other risk factors that have always been there for people working in healthcare...)

Also, with the number of layoffs and furloughs happening to nurses, doctors and other healthcare workers around the country, well, it just makes a job all the more valuable.

Uroboros, APRN

Specializes in Advanced Practice Critical Care and Family Nursing. Has 17 years experience.

To be a new grad getting hired so quickly after taking your exam, and during crisis COVID while amidst national furloughs and layoffs speaks volumes about you. The employer must see real potential or someone who can make an immediately positive impact. Experienced nurses with a lot of advanced education are having difficult enough times seeking or remaining employed. So trust your training and character because you are prepared.

Are you making the right choice? Only you can answer that. Are you putting yourself in danger? Absolutely, but Walmart right now is more dangerous (unless you do your shopping at Costco) than your local hospital, if your concern is catching a community illness.

And lastly, take any information from sites like these with a grain of salt, if that. Including my little comment here. Maybe more like a mustard seed, if you know what I mean. These forums are good for some interesting reads to say the least, maybe some chuckles, or occasional heated debate that too often escalate into repetitive elementary idiotic blogging, which is why I keep my notifications turned off. Alas, I ramble on as well. Really wish you well.


Specializes in CICU. Has 30 years experience.

I had a brand new nurse, 3 days into orientation, come through one of my "Upskill" classes when we first began to prepare for coronavirus in our area. I just encouraged her that there would be a lot to learn, and the bonus is that she (and you) will likely be floating to many different areas of the hospital--with a preceptor--so no better time to take in as many experiences as you can! Watch carefully and see which nurses demonstrate the attributes that attracted you to nursing, compassion, caring, using science to your advantage, and a love for lifetime learning. Remember to take every precaution to keep yourself and your patients safe. Use the proper PPE and never take shortcuts. Keeping these concepts in mind will lead you to a successful career. As one of my mentors told me almost 30 years ago, don't be quick to make friends. First see who emulates the characteristics that you want to develop, and make friends with them. You will develop the habits of those you hang out with. If you want to be a great nurse, hang with the best nurses you come in contact with. Likely they will share their work ethic and helpful hints with you. Do be aware that there are still nurses out there who "eat our young", and will steer you wrong. If someone tells you something that doesn't make sense and is in opposition to what you have learned, take the time to research it.

As I see it, too, you are lucky to have landed the job when you did. With the many layoffs/furloughs, many new grads may not get a job in the near future.

Good luck and welcome to nursing! The opportunities are limitless!!


Specializes in Long Term Care. Has 38 years experience.

That is a tough call. I wish you the best.Hang in there.

If you have the choice to not work, I would hold off on it for awhile, or at least let the city you live in get past the worst of this.

If you are determined to start work right now, a few words of advice.

-Do not come out of orientation until you feel ready. Do not sign any competencies unless you feel truly competent. Do not be afraid to ask for an extended orientation if you feel you need it.

-Make sure you have a good preceptor that not only teaches you relevant skills but will also support you through the added stress of being a new nurse in a pandemic. Do not be afraid to ask your supervisor for a different preceptor, if necessary. There is a way to do so professionally without throwing your first preceptor under the bus.

-Have clear goals with your preceptor and be honest about what you feel comfortable/uncomfortable doing and have a plan for each week. Don't be afraid to ask questions and admit weakness. We are all constantly learning. I am way more worried about the new nurse that acts too confident.

-Do not let the hospital intimidate you into doing anything unsafe. Read up on your state's Nurse Practice Act and familiarize yourself with your rights as a nurse and protecting your license and your patients.

-If possible, join a hospital that has a union. Pay union dues.

-Ask about nurse turnover rates, employee satisfaction survey results in your interview. They need you just as much as you need them. The last thing you want to do is join a toxic work culture in the middle of a crisis.

-Consider joining a hospital that has a nurse residency program. Personally, my first nursing job had a residency program that was a joke and didn't really help me. However, I think when residency programs are executed appropriately, they can be great resources for you to discuss challenges and grow as a nurse.

I hope this helps.