New RN - Should I take an unappealing Med-Surg offer?

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I am a recently-licensed RN looking for some career advice and guidance. This summer, after graduating nursing school, I have been working at an outdoor education summer camp as a camp nurse, which I love, but is soon coming to an end because the position is seasonal. I have a couple of options and choices to make as I move forward...

    1) Accept an offer to work full time on a Med-Surg unit. This will be as a "New Nurse Residency" in a city I am unfamiliar with and don't know anyone in, but in a very supportive work environment. Also, I will get full time benefits (health insurance, tuition reimbursement, etc...)

    2) Accept an offer to work part time in a local Wound Care Center, and also as per diem at the environmental education center I currently work at. This idea appeals to me because I won't have to move far away, both work environments are also very supportive, and I enjoyed Wound Care during nursing school. The cons are I wouldn't get any benefits until I go full-time, and I would be working more hours during the week.

    I understand that generally, it is a good idea for all new nurses to get that "year of Med-Surg" under their belts, but the truth is, Med-Surg never appealed that much to me; I would more like to specialize in a specific area. The crux of my issue is that I am not sure Wound Care is a field I would want to stay in forever, and I'm concerned the skills I would acquire are not transferable, or nursing "marketable."

    My bottom line question is: How possible is it to get out of Wound Care once I'm in it? Are those skills eventually transferable to other fields?
    Thank you folks ahead of time for your time and attention!

    Dear Sarah,

    Congrats, Sarah RN!

    Take the MedSurg New Grad Residency position. Please, please, before it’s gone.

    You can learn wound care at any time later, but you can only get a new grad residency opportunity now and for a few more short months. It’s not about whether MedSurg is your ultimate specialty of choice, it’s about a year of supportive training and transition to practice that will give you experience, credibility, and make you marketable.

    Working part time and per diem as a new grad is a career death sentence. It is possible to find yourself painted into a corner with few options. You don’t want to take that risk.

    Good luck to you,

    Nurse Beth

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    About Nurse Beth, MSN, RN

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,446; Likes: 4,321


  3. by   ProperlySeasoned
    A thousand times what Beth said. Wound care will always be there, a new grad residency will not.
  4. by   subee
    How we old are you? Unless you're one of the granny grads, it's a no brainer. You have an exciting offer on your plate. Go and get that all-important med surg experience with those bennies. Congratulations.
  5. by   Tiftoez76
    Quote from subee
    How we old are you? Unless you're one of the granny grads, it's a no brainer. You have an exciting offer on your plate. Go and get that all-important med surg experience with those bennies. Congratulations.
    So what exactly is a "granny grad?" Would you advise a different path for someone like me who will graduate in December at 40?
  6. by   versican
    I'd take option #2 in a heartbeat, but guess I'm a granny grad. I'm in med surg and cannot find a clinic job opening...and your option #2 sounds exactly what I would like. I would like to work as a wound/ostomy nurse and that clinic sounds like a good path to start.
  7. by   Maygone
    I absolutely, 100%, disagree with the people telling you to take the med surg residency program. It is clear from your post that you really WANT to take the wound care option and seem to be posting for validation in that less popular decision. Let me tell you my story.

    Right out out of school, I was offered 3 positions. A full time residency program in a hospital psych unit with benefits and all, a PRN psych job in LTC with guarantee of full time after a successful probationary period, and a PRN job in corrections with no guarantee of hours but a general "we are always short and you can PROBABLY work as much as you want" statement. Against all advice, I took the corrections job. (I tried to take both PRN offers but the training schedules didn't work, etc...). I took that job because that is what I really wanted to do. Let me also say, I'm not a rich housewife who didn't NEED the job. My husband makes very little, when he can even work, due to chronic pain. So I needed the job. I am the breadwinner.

    Two years later, I'm so happy I made the choice I did. I was moved to full time about 4 months in when a full time spot opened and about 6 months ago, I took a PRN float position at the hospital. I didn't have their required med surg experience for that hospital job, but the stories I told in my interview of the things I've dealt with on a day to day basis landed me that job. At that point, I'd never seen a chest tube, a trach, or even put in a foley. But my experience in a non traditional, VERY autonomous job, was good enough for them!

    Don't take a job because you think you need the experience. You will get experience everywhere! And don't let people downplay wound care. There is a lot going on in people with chronic wounds. You will pick up a lot about DM, nutrition, pain management, etc working in wound care. Take the job you want. You will be surprised how much you learn. And being in a position where you go to work loving it every day will lead to full time. People want full time employees who like what they do. So don't be miserable in med surg for a year just because you think you need the experience. If you're miserable, how good of a reference will you get when you leave in a year for the specialty you want? Do what makes you happy now. Trust me!
  8. by   labrat2nurse
    I started an RN residency in med surg at age 53. Since I had never been a nurse before, I appreciated the opportunity to the program offered to transition into a new career.
  9. by   subee
    Give me a break. 40 is young. I see many threads from people in their late 50's asking "Am I too old?". It's hard to advise the OP without knowing what stage of life he/she is in. When I was in my50's, I wanted to squirrel money for retirement. Part-time without benefits was not an option at that stage of my life.
  10. by   emcadams
    I have not posted on here in a while, but I am posting now to tell you that if the only reason behind taking the MedSurg is "for the experience", this is misleading advice. I took a PCU residency out of school, and I see all sorts of nurses go through the residency. There were nurses that had been working at SNFS, hospice, and homecare. You will learn craploadz as a wound care RN. One thing I don't know as a PCU RN is wound care. Why? We have a wound care nurse for that! Ultimately, you need to do what your heart is telling you or you will feel regret. No one is telling you to be a wound care RN or camp nurse forever, but both of these will have highly transferable skills if you ever wanted a MedSurg job. While hospitals make these residencies sound exclusive, the fact is there is high turnover in bedside nursing, and hospitals have multiple tracks to train warm bodies, only one of which is the "new grad RN with less than one year experience". Write a list of pros and cons, and don't forget to write "this is what I want right now, even if not forever".
  11. by   blah_blah_blah
    I think a lot of people may be downplaying the importance of job satisfaction. I knew from the beginning that I DID NOT want to work with adults. Period. I knew that if I took a job in that setting to get that "one year of med surg experience" I would not be happy and my quality of life and job performance may suffer. I was not going to willingly sign up for 1 year of hating my job.

    Take the job that will make you the happiest. My first job as a new grad was per diem (and in psych no less). I quickly found out that I did not like psych either so being per-diem was nice because I would pick up the minimum number of required shifts while I looked for jobs in peds. and I had no problem getting into pediatrics a few months later. I worked for a pediatrician's office, I worked (and still do work) as a sub school nurse, and now I'm finally where I want to be working in acute care peds.

    I think that wound care would be really useful in the future as well, especially if you are working with the adult/geriatric population. As someone already mentioned, there's people out there with chronic wounds that need tending to. Even if wound care doesn't work out, I think it would still be very marketable experience. Don't some hospitals even have wound care teams?
  12. by   RNNPICU
    I would take the wound care. If you are not keen on med-surg, you could really be miserable. Take a look at the multitude of threads on people who are not happy in their jobs. Also, the hospital may want you for 1-2 years, ideally more. Do you really want Med-surg for that long if it is not something you are interested in? The wound care job sounds really interesting. make clear to them you are a new grad and would need a REAL orientation, not just 1-2 weeks. it sounds like it would be a good match, plus coupled with the environmental job.
    Good Luck
  13. by   vintagemother
    It depends on your local market. I feel quite fortunate to have received a job offer as a new grad on a med-surg unit.

    I know some people dislike med-surg work. However, I think it is a good position that will give me a well rounded background if I chose to pursue a different specialty, eventually.

    Plus, my floor is welcoming to new grads. People are pretty helpful and my orientation has been extensive- currently on week 7, with at least 2 more weeks scheduled.

    I I understand that you enjoy wound care! I do, too! And we have a few pts with wounds each shift. A special wound care provider takes care of super extensive wounds, but I'm happy to say I have had the opportunity to dress quite a few extensive wounds on med-surg.
  14. by   SHGR
    If you were my student, friend, or family member, I would tell you this: the idea that med surg is the only way to start is old thinking. Take the specialty you want right away. Med surg is its own specialty with an ANCC certification exam. Too many nurses take a med surg job right out of school and leave...and the units become a revolving door staffed by inexperienced staff who don't want to be there.