Dear Nurse Beth,
I am 36, I will graduate from nursing school in December 201. I will most likely do my NCLEX test in January. I do not want to get into a residency program, but it looks like that will be my only option. Is there any way you can advise me on how to avoid this? I do not want to be a bedside nurse and that is what I will be most likely doing if I get into a residency program. I do not want to be stuck in a place for two years that I know I will not enjoy what I am doing. I will love to work in a dialysis clinic or unit. Residency programs underpay nurses and I want to avoid this as much as I can.
Dear Doesn't Want Bedside,
Congrats on being close to graduation. It's unusual to frame a nurse residency position as your only unwanted option, because it's usually considered quite the opposite- a coveted opportunity. Depending on where you live, it can be competitive to land a position in a nurse residency program.
Residency programs typically pay entry level wages in line with market standards. The real value is that they offer needed support for new grads. Your true education starts after graduation. It is possible to land a job in dialysis, as many dialysis positions stipulate "experience preferred" (meaning they take nurses with no experience). When you consider hourly wage, look at the whole package- benefits, tuition reimbursement.
More important, look down the road when you may want to do something other than dialysis. It's important not to lock yourself into a narrow specialty. In other words, make sure you are thinking long-term and not just short-term.
Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!