New Grad Terrified of Choosing Wrong Job

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I need your help! I am a nursing student graduating in December 2018. I applied to February nurse residencies and didn't get my dream hospital or field. I have two options left that are both nowhere near what I want to do. I want a peds job more than anything but the two options I have left are adults and both in units I have no interest in.

    So my question is, should I suck it up and take one of them and eventually switch to what I actually want to do later in life? Or do I wait for the July round of
    residencies. If I wait until the July round I would apply to more hospitals. But more importantly, my dream hospital is taking way more nurse residencies in the July cohort and units that weren't an option to apply to for the February residency will be taking residents as well.

    So my question is, do I risk it and not take one of the residency positions at the places I have no interest in and apply to the residencies again or do I take one of the other jobs just to have one?


    Dear Terrified,

    Congrats on graduating in December!! And congrats on having 2 job offers!

    There isn't an absolute "right" answer to your question because it's more of a risk tolerance question, and there is some risk for you if you wait. It's why people say "A bird in the hand is worth 2 in the bush", if you've ever heard that expression.

    If you take one of the jobs starting in February, you will gain valuable skills and experience. These are core skills that will transfer to any speciality. Even though you say now that you have no interest in adults, you will be learning and growing every day. You will not be bored.

    If you wait until July, you may land a job in your dream hospital and speciality, although it's not guaranteed. Even if you did not get Peds, it sounds like chances are you could get a residency position, so the most you would lose by waiting is 6 months.

    You sound very sure about your dream speciality, but keep in mind that dreams change. Ask several experienced nurses if they stayed in 1 speciality for their entire career, and you'll hear several amazing stories.

    You have framed your question very well, in that you have all the information you need to make a decision. I could tell you what I would do, but that's not really relevant to you. Only you know how comfortable you are with risk, or how much regret you'd have if you don't choose a chance at Peds.

    Tap into your gut instinct and see what it tells you. I believe that if you can get past the fear and anxiety, you will know the answer that's right for you. It's inside.

    Best wishes,

    Nurse Beth
    Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

    Last edit by tnbutterfly on Nov 15
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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,567; Likes: 4,706
    Nursing Professional Development Specialist; from CA , US
    Specialty: Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho


  3. by   walkingrock
    Take one of your current offers. It doesn't mean you can't eventually get the job you want. The first year of nursing is rough whether you're in your favorite area or not. The important thing is to get some experience. I thought I wanted to work in pediatrics, ended up getting my first job in NICU, and it ended up being my niche. Of course, they are more closely related than adults, but you really don't know how you will like an area until you've had at least a year of experience. After 2 years of experience, you'll be in good shape to transfer to an area of your choice. Think of it as an extension of your education rather than your career choice.
  4. by   nursesunny
    The question for me is the time. If you are required to contract for 2 years in your current offers I would decline. You don't want to feel you are stuck in something you don't love as your very first job. Yes, compromise is important, but when you have an opportunity to shoot for the stars and you let it pass you by for ease you will always wonder "what if" and it will tarnish your appreciation of your current job offers (even if they are great you won't see it). Instead take a job with no commitment and wait it out....that is what I would do, but you should take that advice with a grain of salt.
  5. by   KelRN215
    There's also option C- apply to other peds positions. I knew I only wanted peds and when I was a new grad, was prepared to move if I didn't get a peds position in my city. I got offered a position shortly before I was going to begin applying elsewhere so it was a non-issue but that's what I'd do. You haven't graduated yet so there's still time. If moving isn't an option, I'd take the adult positions over waiting for July. By July you'll be competing with people who work at the hospital or are doing their preceptorships in the spring and get essentially promised positions before they even open applications. Plus 5 months is a long time to wait with no salary.
  6. by   not.done.yet
    New grad positions are fewer than there are new grads. Add in a preference for a specialty that tends to have a large number of people competing for even fewer spots and you greatly narrow your opportunities. Even if you wait until July, there is no guarantee you will be selected for a residency in your preferred specialty. If you don't have to support yourself, then I guess you could wait, but if you have bills like most people, you will need to work. Not very many people get into their dream specialty right out of school. I would not advise waiting, personally. Once you get past the "newly graduated" phase, the term "Old new grad" will quickly come into play. Then your opportunities dry up fast. Take one of your job offers. Will it be your favorite thing ever? Probably not, but then, its work.
  7. by   kbrn2002
    It depends. How is the overall job market in your area? If you really think you stand a better shot of landing the residency you want in July it might be worth waiting. Also depends on if you can afford to wait. Can you realistically go that long without the income? Also keep in mind the longer you are an unemployed new grad the harder it will be to find that first job
  8. by   Carrie_RN
    If you hold out for your dream job in July, will it possibly look bad that you were offered a job in February but turned it down? Also, will it look bad that you were not working for the past 6 months after graduation?
  9. by   not.done.yet
    Quote from Carrie_RN
    If you hold out for your dream job in July, will it possibly look bad that you were offered a job in February but turned it down? Also, will it look bad that you were not working for the past 6 months after graduation?
    Its unlikely anyone would know about the declined offers. But yes, it definitely would not look good to go six months without working as a nurse.
  10. by   Carrie_RN
    Quote from not.done.yet
    Its unlikely anyone would know about the declined offers. But yes, it definitely would not look good to go six months without working as a nurse.
    I was thinking that if she reapplied for July at the same hospital in which she declined an offer now, someone might take notice.
  11. by   Polly Peptide
    Many residency contracts require two years as a FT nurse within their hospital (or network of hospitals); but they do not require you to stay within the same unit the entire time. Most will allow a transfer within a certain amount of time (I've heard some say after a year). If you take one of your offers, by July you will already have almost 6 months of experience and within another 6 months and with a good reference from your current manager, you may be able to transfer. Consider whether the offers you have will allow you to transfer internally or if you would have to go to another hospital entirely to get to the unit you truly desire.

    Of course, know the terms of the residencies you are being offered!!

    As well, consider the fact that you have two offers on the table now and NO guarantee of an offer in July. If you don't get an offer then, you will no longer be eligible for nurse residencies, yet will have no experience. That will put you in a real pickle.

    IMO...the biggest question is, is there an opportunity for you to transfer to something that interests you within one of the hospitals that made you an offer currently?

    Good luck.