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Not sure where to go from here


Specializes in Long term care. Has 2 years experience.

So I have been a nurse for a whole 8 months. I know this makes me a newbie to the field. Before I was a nurse, I was a researcher and professor. I got my PhD in biology and taught at various universities for 5 years before I ultimately decided I was unhappy and needed a change. I am still pretty young (30's) so am not considering retirement anytime soon. For the past 8 months, I've been working in a relatively large rehab facility. I love my job: I enjoy the patients, the people I work with, my day to day routine. Especially now since we have beat covid-19 in our facility (at least for now) . We got hit very hard and had many deaths.

I am moving next month to southern California. I went through the hoops of getting my CA RN. And have actively been applying to jobs for a month or so. I have had a few interviews so far and one solid offer. I am just not sure where I should work or what I should do. I am acutely aware that my limited experience limits me in many ways.

One thought was to apply to a nurse residency program at the local children's hospital. There is a great residency program and Rady Children hospital in San Diego, that I would think I might really enjoy. And it would give me a lot of experience. I enjoyed my peds rotation and have worked with kids in the past. Problem is, its super competitive. I've logged quite a chunk of time with volunteering at chidren's hospitals prior to becoming an actual nurse, have decent grades (3.6) and pretty positive recs from my current job. Plus I guess a PhD doesn't hurt. But it is super competitive, so I'm not putting all my eggs in that basket.

I have a job offer in LTC- wages are lower than I would like, and benefits really suck. But it's a job offer. I know I do NOT want to work in LTC for my entire career. I don't hate it, I am just hoping for a little more excitement and variety.

I've had an interview with the Veterans Hospital as a research nurse. Sounds cool, but I don't know if that's necessarily a path I want to take. I was a researcher for 6 years and I am not sure if I wouldnt grow tired of it as I have in the past.

I had another interview at a non-profit and the wages and benefits sounded great and the position sounded exciting. It's working in outpatient, which could be cool.

I had another interview with a detention center by the boarder. That sparked my interest. But I haven't yet to hear back.

There are just lots of options, and I'm just not sure where to go and what to do. I love working with kids and younger populations. I enjoy mental health. Part of my current job is working in memory care and with patients with some pretty sever mental issues. I imagined myself really wanting to work in an ER or pedi ER or ICU, but all of those things require critical care experience, and I don't have that at all.

Sorry for the long rant. I just was wondering if anyone was in a similar place, or have been in a similar place and could offer insight/ wisdom/encouragment.

RNperdiem, RN

Has 14 years experience.

Do you have to move to California next month? Can the move be postponed until you have a job offer from a job you are excited about? Especially if you currently have a decent job and are a new grad.


Specializes in Long term care. Has 2 years experience.

Unfortunately, no. We live in a very expensive area of the country currently, and we sold our home (closing in July). Temporary renting would be too expensive.

Go VA. Once you're in it'll be easier to transfer if you get tired of doing research. And you know they pay well...

Been there,done that, ASN, RN

Has 33 years experience.

Do you need to bring in money ASAP, or can you take awhile to search?

You are scattering your forces with interviews with LTC, corrections, the VA, and peds. You have unusual credentials. Nobody knows how hiring managers will see them. Take some time to evaluate.

Let us know how it's going.


Specializes in Long term care. Has 2 years experience.

I mean I am not hurting for money at the moment. I have been working a ton of overtime in anticipation of not having a job for a few weeks while we move. My spouse (who is not a nurse) makes decent money. Where I am at currently: my current position and places I have applied on the East Coast have taken little notice of my previous credentials. Which is fine, I honestly was not expecting to have a one up on anyone for having a PhD in an un-related field. I never really thought that hiring managers would view my credentials as anything other than... cool look what this person did prior to becoming a nurse. Other than they might assume I am much older than I actually am (most professors are in their late 30s-60s)

scribblz, BSN, CNA, LPN

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, Geriatrics, home infusion. Has 14 years experience.

Based on your background it sounds like you want to continue to grow so I would pass on the LTC. It will pigeonhole you, is not your passion nor does it pay well. If research bored you in the past; it likely will in the future so I would pass on the VA as well. You are right about the children's hospital residency being a great but competitive opportunity. Go for it with that understanding that it's a long shot. The outpatient clinic with the great wages sounds like it's worth exploring.

Best of luck to you!

Hi! I have lived in SoCal for about 10 months and let me tell you...the competition is crazy. If you are not hurting financially, I would say hold off on all the options that you mentioned and wait for something better to come up. Don't bother working in sub-acute or research because all of these hospitals want acute care experience. The best option is to apply at all hospitals and apply for new grad programs too. That would be the best bet.

Good luck 🙂