New Grad Can't Find Niche

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am an older (33), second career (BA in English and Criminal Justice, AA in Education) and will graduate from an ADN program in May (woohoo). Nursing was never a passion of mine growing up honestly and I chose to become a nurse largely based on two things: I'd be good at it and the money. I am compassionate and naturally a caregiver and I do well with patients.

    Here is my dilemma: The only thing I am positive about when it comes to my future is that I DO NOT want to work in a hospital. If I had to it would ONLY be on
    a L&D/Mother Baby unit. I have no desire for a position in an ICU or ED. I can handle an emergent situation here and there but do not want to be constantly "on high alert" or running all the time from one emergency to another. It just isn't who I am.

    I still haven't found that "niche" everyone talks about, but I am interested in forensics/corrections and as previously noted maternity. Is it possible to get a new grad job outside of a hospital (and not in
    a LTC facility either) without any experience? I've never worked in the healthcare field and my only experiences have been through clinicals and classroom instruction. If I never (if I can help it) want to work in a hospital setting, is it OK to go straight to corrections or a forensic nurse/SANE nurse route? Thank you for your reply and advice!



    Dear Doesn't Want Hospital,

    It's not uncommon to not find your niche until after graduation and after more exposure to different specialties.

    There are positions that do not require experience, but they are harder to find. If you would consider working a year or two in acute care, you would then qualify for more positions. You should also plan to get your BSN, especially if you do not want to work at the bedside. A BSN is typically required for many non-clinical roles. An example is case management.

    Corrections does hire new grads depending on your area. Most SANE nurses have two years ED experience. Maybe look for vendors who are hiring? Typically positions with vendors involve travel.

    Have you considered behavioral health?

    A good idea to learn what's out there is to register on Indeed.com. You will get a feel for all the different jobs available and what the qualifications are.

    Give yourself some time to find the right choice for you. In the meantime, try to avoid absolutes because you may miss opportunities. Be open-minded and remember your first year or two is to learn to become a nurse. You have the rest of your career to specialize.


    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth



    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!
    Last edit by tnbutterfly on May 15
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,382; Likes: 4,117

    3 Comments

  3. by   Oldmahubbard
    Back in my day, 1990 or so, my class was told
    to work at least a year in a hospital. To me, it sounded like horrible hard time.

    But many of my classmates were strangely excited about it. They even thought they wanted to make it their career!

    This is when I began learning what a good thing it is that we are all made differently.

    I ended up doing about 8.5 months of hard time. Thankfully, I was released early for good behavior.

    Yes, a little corrections humor.

    It will all depend on your local job market. You also have access to so much learning material and wisdom that we did not.

    In this area, I know first hand that the forensic facility is in need of good and reliable RNs.

    People that will get up, dress up, show up, shut up, and never give up.

    Not original to me, but I liked it enough to plagiarize.

    I will add, "put up" with politics.

    So hard to believe, but a local nurse in a forensic setting was recently fired for bringing in 7 Adderall tablets with her into the facility.

    Even if she had a legit prescription, why would she risk that?

    My advice. Don't be discouraged, it may not take that long, and who knows? Why not apply and see what they say?

    In the meantime, take any job to support yourself, but it won't be forever.
  4. by   melliemel22936
    "If I had to it would ONLY be on a L&D/Mother Baby unit. I have no desire for a position in an ICU or ED. I can handle an emergent situation here and there but do not want to be constantly "on high alert" or running all the time from one emergency to another."


    Having been a L&D/Mother Baby nurse for the past 12 years, I can tell you it's not all rainbows and unicorns! When a labor patient or newborn goes south, it happens fast and you need to be ready. I have personally been involved with multiple newborn resuscitations, emergent c-sections, and postpartum hemorrhages. Get some experience in the hospital and then figure out where to go from there.

    I graduated nursing school at 40 with an ADN and started out in the NICU. I said I would NEVER do mother/baby nursing. All I wanted to do was take care of sick babies. Well, 1 1/2 years later I got a job at another hospital with a level 2 NICU, but also had to learn postpartum nursing. I actually really enjoyed it! Ultimately I received my BSN (at 50) and MSN (at 53) and am now an instructor in Women's Health at a major university and have never been happier!

    I guess my point is, don't count anything out before you give it a try. Good luck!
  5. by   riggy3
    Dear Graduate looking for Niche,

    Reading your concern many novice nurses expressed to me before......

    "The only thing I am positive about when it comes to my future is that I DO NOT want to work in a hospital. If I had to it would ONLY be on a L&D/Mother Baby unit. I have no desire for a position in an ICU or ED. I can handle an emergent situation here and there but do not want to be constantly "on high alert" or running all the time from one emergency to another."

    The general recommendation I gave to my students and new graduates was begin to work on a general Medical/Surgical unit for a year or two to actually gain clinical experience. You do not have enough clinical experience right out of school to decide...
    Your decision to believe starting in L&D is the best and not liking the ICU or ED is based on too minimal clinical experience. In most schools very little clinical experience is actually given in pediatrics, L&D, ED, OR, or the ICU .
    My belief is your decision may be different with a few years of actual hospital work accomplished. The real world clinical experience provides organizational skills and the building blocks to work in the many diverse areas of nursing such as a stand alone facility like corrections . Best wishes !


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