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Not thrilled with my unit - should I quit?

Updated | Posted
Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Columnist Innovator Expert Nurse

Specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho. Has 30 years experience.


Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm a new grad nurse who took the first job offer I received. At the time there was hesitancy on my part to take it because of a gut feeling. I ended up talking with other nurses, friends and family all who said to take it because it was the only opportunity I had. If disliked it then I could transfer in a year.

My gut feeling was correct and I'm not thrilled with my unit. I don't mind my coworkers, but I simply do not care for where I'm working. I have concerns about leadership, scheduling, and staffing grids, but I know those can happen anywhere. To top it off I'm struggling to adjust to nights, and find a social life outside of work. When I'm off work I feel like I need to be relearning patho, pharm, assessment, and watch skill videos. Each week I come home and I wonder if I should risk being blacklisted by getting a new job, or wait until I'm able to get a transfer. I have a month or less of orientation. I keep telling myself that isn't enough time to know if I truly like where I'm at. How can an indifferent new grad become excited about their unit? Right now I keep reminding myself this is a temporary stop to build a foundation.


Dear Indifferent,

This first year is challenging no matter where you work. There are so many adjustments and the learning curve is steep. Reality Shock is a real experience.

Give yourself more time. Changing jobs right now could easily set you back in your transition from school to nursing. It takes a lot of energy to look for another job, interview, get hired and start orientation all over. Instead, channel that energy into your current practice.

There is a risk of being blacklisted and there's no guarantee of a better workplace. The grass is not always greener. You could easily trade one set of problems/dissatisfactions for another.

If one year seems too long in a place you don't love, tell yourself you'll stick it out 6 months and then re-evaluate. You can do 6 months. 

Meanwhile, give yourself credit for your growth and accomplishments. Is your time management better than when you started? Are your getting more skilled with your IV starts? Can you perform an assessment and document it faster?

Maybe you aren't excited about your unit, but you can be excited about your patients. Be the best nurse you can be. You said it well yourself- you are building your nursing practice foundation.

Best wishes in your decision,

Nurse Beth