Dear Nurse Beth,
I am a nurse who just finished my bachelor's degree online this month. I am 28 years old, and I have been a NICU nurse for the past 4 years. I started as a new grad in the NICU and I have been there ever since. I love being a NICU nurse, but recently I have been wondering if I should look into other areas and get more experience in a different field. I love working with the babies, but there is a part of me that wants to work with adults or possibly Pediatrics.
I would love to be a family nurse practitioner who sees patients in a clinic or possibly a pediatric nurse practitioner. I also have been looking into just getting my masters in nursing education. My dilemma is that I just moved to Texas and I have been offered a position in a level 3 NICU. This would be an amazing NICU to work in, and if I decided to get my Master's degree, I could eventually become a nurse educator working in the NICU and I know I would be very good at it.
Part of me feels like I should take this opportunity, but another Part of Me is thinking about looking into other positions and possibly taking a job getting experience with adults or children. Then from there, I could apply to become a family nurse practitioner, and eventually care for patients in a practice like I have envisioned myself.
My only fear with this is throwing away an amazing opportunity with this NICU position and regretting my decision and realizing what a great job I had. I love nursing because there are so many opportunities and experiences, but sometimes I feel like I wind up getting confused about what I want to do. I feel like I am at a Crossroads between possibly losing an amazing job opportunity, or possibly limiting myself and not stepping out of my comfort zone to see what other opportunities are out there. Any input or advice would be really appreciated. Thank you so much!
You are qualified and could probably succeed at any of these. You could be a NICU nurse educator, Staff Nurse Level III NICU, FNP....you are at a crossroads as you contemplate getting an advanced degree. An advanced degree forces you to choose a pathway.
While I can't advise you on which path is best for you, I can share that in looking back in life, I found there were signs along the way when it came to big life decisions.
Doors tend to open up when life is presenting you with opportunity.
Conversely, roadblocks often present when something just isn't right for you, or isn't right for you at the time.
Try not to make choices out of fear. Fear is never a good basis for decision making. The opposite of fear is taking a risk, such as moving out of your comfort zone.
At the same time, the NICU position is not permanent. You could take the NICU position and still go on to become an FNP like you've always dreamed.
As far as regrets, it could very well be that you'd regret never spreading your wings more than you'd regret passing up a good NICU position.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job
"...and your next!