Pregnancy Loss and Unhappy New Grad

  1. Dear Nurse Beth,

    I graduated in 2017 and took a job on a med surg floor that began Feb. 2018. I took that job because it was the only interview that I got. I am only interested in OB nursing and wasn't able to get into that field. I have had a horrible time at my job, capped off by the loss of my pregnancy at 19 weeks. I'm currently on medical/maternity leave and I really do not want to go back to that position. I'm in the new grad program and I should graduate in November. I have 6 more months to go before I have a year's worth of experience. But I truly do not like taking care of the patients on the unit. I went into nursing school to take care of pregnant women and got side tracked. I also am not sure that I will be mentally and emotionally stable enough to go back to my job at the end of my leave. Do you have any advice on how I can make my way to OB nursing?

    Dear Needs Advice,

    I'm so sorry for your loss. You are grieving and unhappy in your new job at the same time. It can be hard to make the right decisions at a time like this.

    The way to make your way to OB nursing is to complete your residency. When you are a brand new grad, it is not always possible to land the speciality of your choice right off the bat. Try to see your time in MedSurg as the valuable experience it is and as a stepping stone towards your goal. Talk to the residency manager about your concerns. Sometimes they can work with you to facilitate a different placement.

    Your health is most important. Be frank with your doctor so she can clear you medically with all the information. Sometimes dreading a return to work is worse than actually returning to work. Contact your Employee Assistance Program for short-term counseling.

    Do not make a decision to not return to work until you have all the facts from HR. The decisions you make now have long-term consequences. If you do not return as planned, will you be dropped from the residency program? Is there a point at which you will be terminated? Did you sign a contract and is there a penalty clause?

    Remember you have only 6 months to go to complete your first year. A lot of opportunities open up at the 1-2 mark.

    Best wishes and keep us posted,
    Nurse Beth

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

    Joined: Mar '07; Posts: 1,482; Likes: 4,362

    14 Comments

  3. by   Daisy4RN
    I am so sorry for your loss! Agree with Nurse Beth that you should go back and continue and finish your program. You are going through a very tough time now and you really need to think through your choices before you act. It would probably be more emotionally taxing to go back to work if you went directly to OB. If your dream is OB there is no reason you cannot work your way there if you do it the right way. You might be able to transfer to OB but even if that doesn't work out at your current hospital you still need to use it on your resume and need references. I hope it works out and again I am very sorry for your loss.
  4. by   Ddestiny
    It sounds like you live in an area where it's difficult to get a job as a new grad. Unfortunately you won't see many more opportunities opening up as an unemployed "old new grad" with 6 months of experience. So as much as you want to get into your specialty ASAP, this may not be an option. The worst thing you could do is quit your job without having fully committed to the next job. I have also worked in a specialty that I knew was not my preference because I couldn't get into my desired specialty. I stayed for 2 years and was suddenly a hot commodity that doesn't have difficulty getting the positions I want.

    Also, I don't know anything about new grad programs, are there consequences for quitting early? Aside from possibly getting yourself on the "do not rehire" list for that health system? Even if you manage to find an OB job, interview and get accepted into a new position now, what will be the fallout from your current position?

    Take this time as an opportunity to learn about other disease processes that will be affecting your future patients. Learn more about the hospital system itself, the doctors, resources, etc. I occasionally took care of new mothers and pregnant women on the floor as well. You will find yourself having a broader knowledge base than those that go immediately into their specialty, and that can pay dividends down the line.

    Good luck with your decision.
  5. by   monkey205
    I am very sorry for your loss. Having med-surg experience in OB is a huge plus. Finish out your year and re-apply. Let the Nurse Manager know you are interested.
  6. by   cec0007
    I, too, am very sorry for your loss.

    Please don't let your grief influence your decisions about what is best in the long run for you. It seems at present you may be a bit too impatient to get into your chosen specialty. I agree with the other posts that have encouraged you to finish your current job as soon as your health allows. If you don't, it may likely have long-term negative consequences to your career.

    As an aside, terming your nausea/vomiting as anorexia is probably a mistake that you don't want to make. It really doesn't sound like anorexia so be careful there. But if it is, please seek help for those issues.

    Also, keep in mind that med-surg experience is an extremely valuable learning opportunity. Not all of your future OB patients will be in perfect health, and the familiarization with hospital procedures, working with doctors, different types of patients and families, etc, etc. is a necessary part of becoming an excellent nurse. Look at this as the valuable learning experience that it is and as a stepping-stone to your desired specialty. You have decades of nursing ahead of you!

    Best wishes to you. Hopefully six months from now you will be feeling much better about everything!
  7. by   CalicoKitty
    You can try to speak with the people in charge of your orientation to see if they could move you to another unit. The hospital has invested a good amount of energy to help you become a better nurse, and perhaps there is another unit that could be a better fit. I'm sure it isn't customary, but it may be possible. And, please, while OB is a great specialty, you can learn a lot of skills in medical-surgical nursing that can help you treat new mothers-to-be. The environment may not be ideal, but there will be mothers out there with some of the comorbidities you see in med-surg.
  8. by   Workitinurfava
    If you look at this in a different way, you may understand that having the med-surg experience can lead to more opportunities. It can help you be a better maternity nurse when the time comes. Sometimes you don't know what you like and don't like until you are have the job. Try to separate your loss of child from the job. They are two different issues. Get some counseling. I am sorry for your loss. Can you handle working in that environment right now after having loss your child?
  9. by   NurseDiane
    I am not quite sure how you come up with the figures in your post: You started your job in February 2018, will graduate the new grad program in November & will have one year of experience in 6 months? Plus, you are currently on medical/maternity leave, which takes away time from you completing the new grad program. "Experience" means working on your own, not with a mentor or preceptor, or in a training program. It means you, yourself, working on your own, carrying your own patient load. So, if you are set to finish the new grad program in November, you will have one year of experience next November, 2019.

    All nurses, no matter what specialty they are interested in, must rise up through the ranks. There is a reason why all new nurses start off on med-surg units: Because nurses learn all (or mostly all) of the basic skills they will need in any specialty: standard doses & classifications of medications, what they're used for & side effects of routine medications; time management & organization skills; how to document properly; how to interact with various types of personalities in both your peers & the patients you take care of and how to think quickly on your feet to problem solve. I don't know any nurses that "enjoyed" med-surg. But, that's where we all learned the basic skills of how to be a nurse. Anything after that is just building on skills you already developed during time working on a med-surg unit.

    To be perfectly honest, you sound like a little kid that didn't get her way & you want to quit because of it. If you quit, you will NEVER work with pregnant women. If you have a bad attitude at work, you will get the reputation of someone that is difficult to work with & never happy, and you will work med-surg for the next 20 years. Right now, you do not have the skills to work on an OB unit. Until you can prove that you can manage your own patient load on a med-surg unit, you will not be qualified to work on an OB unit. The attitude of "I want what I want and if I don't get it, I'm going to quit' is not conducive to a nursing job. There is a reason why you only landed one interview, and that is because you were a new grad with ZERO experience. No hospital would ever hire you for an OB unit as a new grad. In my humble opinion, you were lucky to get a job on a med-drug floor in a hospital---many new nurses start out in long term care facilities. Instead of complaining about this job & dreading going back, you really need to re-evaluate your own attitude about this. Use this new grad program for what it is: An opportunity for you to learn how to be a nurse. An opportunity that many new grads don't even get. An opportunity to learn about commonly used medications & other therapies. An opportunity to learn about various disease states. An opportunity to learn how to prioritize & organize. An opportunity to learn how to think quickly on your feet. An opportunity to multi-task. An opportunity to show your managers what you learned & that you are ready to move on to the specialty you want to work in. An opportunity to prove to your managers that you are a nurse that other nurses would want to work with. You state you've had a "horrible time" at your job, but you don't elaborate on that. I am curious to know what you mean by that.

    I, personally, do not think that at this stage of the game you would be ready to even go into OB considering your mental state right now---if you don't think you will be mentally & emotionally stable enough to go back to a med-surg unit, there is no way you'd be stable enough to work on an OB unit. Plus, "working with pregnant women" is still a nursing job with all of the usual things you experience on the med-surg floor: understaffing, pressure & stress, being worked to death. The liability in OB is through the roof & before a nurse is allowed to go into the OB unit, the hospital wants to make sure that the nurse can function independently & think quickly on their feet, because those things are absolutely necessary in OB due to the liability aspect. Just because you made it through the new grad program does not make you qualified to work in OB. If you really want to work with pregnant women, perhaps becoming a doula or birth coach---maybe even Lamaze coach--would help to fulfill that desire & give you some experience working with pregnant women.

    I am sorry for your loss. Rather than delaying going back to your job, get back into it with a positive attitude. There are millions of new grads that would kill to get a position in a hospital on a med-surg floor in a new grad program.
  10. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from NurseDiane
    I am not quite sure how you come up with the figures in your post: You started your job in February 2018, will graduate the new grad program in November & will have one year of experience in 6 months? Plus, you are currently on medical/maternity leave, which takes away time from you completing the new grad program. "Experience" means working on your own, not with a mentor or preceptor, or in a training program. It means you, yourself, working on your own, carrying your own patient load. So, if you are set to finish the new grad program in November, you will have one year of experience next November, 2019.

    All nurses, no matter what specialty they are interested in, must rise up through the ranks. There is a reason why all new nurses start off on med-surg units: Because nurses learn all (or mostly all) of the basic skills they will need in any specialty: standard doses & classifications of medications, what they're used for & side effects of routine medications; time management & organization skills; how to document properly; how to interact with various types of personalities in both your peers & the patients you take care of and how to think quickly on your feet to problem solve. I don't know any nurses that "enjoyed" med-surg. But, that's where we all learned the basic skills of how to be a nurse. Anything after that is just building on skills you already developed during time working on a med-surg unit.

    To be perfectly honest, you sound like a little kid that didn't get her way & you want to quit because of it. If you quit, you will NEVER work with pregnant women. If you have a bad attitude at work, you will get the reputation of someone that is difficult to work with & never happy, and you will work med-surg for the next 20 years. Right now, you do not have the skills to work on an OB unit. Until you can prove that you can manage your own patient load on a med-surg unit, you will not be qualified to work on an OB unit. The attitude of "I want what I want and if I don't get it, I'm going to quit' is not conducive to a nursing job. There is a reason why you only landed one interview, and that is because you were a new grad with ZERO experience. No hospital would ever hire you for an OB unit as a new grad. In my humble opinion, you were lucky to get a job on a med-drug floor in a hospital---many new nurses start out in long term care facilities. Instead of complaining about this job & dreading going back, you really need to re-evaluate your own attitude about this. Use this new grad program for what it is: An opportunity for you to learn how to be a nurse. An opportunity that many new grads don't even get. An opportunity to learn about commonly used medications & other therapies. An opportunity to learn about various disease states. An opportunity to learn how to prioritize & organize. An opportunity to learn how to think quickly on your feet. An opportunity to multi-task. An opportunity to show your managers what you learned & that you are ready to move on to the specialty you want to work in. An opportunity to prove to your managers that you are a nurse that other nurses would want to work with. You state you've had a "horrible time" at your job, but you don't elaborate on that. I am curious to know what you mean by that.

    I, personally, do not think that at this stage of the game you would be ready to even go into OB considering your mental state right now---if you don't think you will be mentally & emotionally stable enough to go back to a med-surg unit, there is no way you'd be stable enough to work on an OB unit. Plus, "working with pregnant women" is still a nursing job with all of the usual things you experience on the med-surg floor: understaffing, pressure & stress, being worked to death. The liability in OB is through the roof & before a nurse is allowed to go into the OB unit, the hospital wants to make sure that the nurse can function independently & think quickly on their feet, because those things are absolutely necessary in OB due to the liability aspect. Just because you made it through the new grad program does not make you qualified to work in OB. If you really want to work with pregnant women, perhaps becoming a doula or birth coach---maybe even Lamaze coach--would help to fulfill that desire & give you some experience working with pregnant women.

    I am sorry for your loss. Rather than delaying going back to your job, get back into it with a positive attitude. There are millions of new grads that would kill to get a position in a hospital on a med-surg floor in a new grad program.
    Wrong, wrong and once again, wrong.

    I graduated from nursing school two years ago, and one of my classmates, did indeed land her first nursing job in L & D at the second largest hospital in Lexington, KY.

    OP, don't listen to anyone who tells you it can't be done. It can, be done.

    I am unclear as to exactly how much time you've spent on the floor.

    Not all new nurses start in med-surge. That is a myth.

    My first job was CVICU.

    Another classmate went to PICU.

    There is something to be said for learning skills and time management in med-surge.

    But if your heart just isn't into it, well, then, it's not the place for you!

    Heal yourself.

    Then go out and get the job you truly want.

    Best of luck!
  11. by   Ddestiny
    Quote from Lil Nel

    There is something to be said for learning skills and time management in med-surge.

    But if your heart just isn't into it, well, then, it's not the place for you!

    Heal yourself.

    Then go out and get the job you truly want.

    Best of luck!
    I think this situation is less about whether or not new grads can start in non-med/surg areas and more about
    a) can the OP, in her potentially nurse-saturated location (judging by her only getting one job offer), get hired in the specific field that she wants with little experience when she previously couldn't 6 months ago?
    and b) What are the consequences of leaving her new grad program early?
    "Follow your heart" can be dangerous advice if people don't seriously and realistically prepare for the consequences.

    I don't see anyone saying that L & D isn't an option eventually, but we have to be realistic to her situation. If she couldn't get a job in her field with no experience then she's probably not going to have enhanced success with less than a year of experience, which would show that she jumped ship pretty quickly.
    There's nothing wrong with looking at jobs, applying and finding out the consequences if you leave your new grad program early, but don't pull the trigger until you have all the facts. Healthcare is a small world and getting blacklisted from one hospital can turn into many hospitals when they get bought out by another entity. And definitely don't leave your job before you have a better one in hand (especially if leaving requires paying back money to the old hospital) or you might find yourself in a situation where you're scrambling to even get back into a med/surg job, adding lots of stress without making progress. Not having any job in nursing will set back your progress towards your goal.

    A lot of people do not start out in their field of choice, myself included. It's a hard road but it ultimately pays off and makes you more well-rounded as long as you stay patient and do the work needed.
  12. by   Lil Nel
    Quote from Ddestiny
    I think this situation is less about whether or not new grads can start in non-med/surg areas and more about
    a) can the OP, in her potentially nurse-saturated location (judging by her only getting one job offer), get hired in the specific field that she wants with little experience when she previously couldn't 6 months ago?
    and b) What are the consequences of leaving her new grad program early?
    "Follow your heart" can be dangerous advice if people don't seriously and realistically prepare for the consequences.

    I don't see anyone saying that L & D isn't an option eventually, but we have to be realistic to her situation. If she couldn't get a job in her field with no experience then she's probably not going to have enhanced success with less than a year of experience, which would show that she jumped ship pretty quickly.
    There's nothing wrong with looking at jobs, applying and finding out the consequences if you leave your new grad program early, but don't pull the trigger until you have all the facts. Healthcare is a small world and getting blacklisted from one hospital can turn into many hospitals when they get bought out by another entity. And definitely don't leave your job before you have a better one in hand (especially if leaving requires paying back money to the old hospital) or you might find yourself in a situation where you're scrambling to even get back into a med/surg job, adding lots of stress without making progress. Not having any job in nursing will set back your progress towards your goal.

    A lot of people do not start out in their field of choice, myself included. It's a hard road but it ultimately pays off and makes you more well-rounded as long as you stay patient and do the work needed.
    My response to the OP was largely to negate the unhelpful comments from the poster I quoted.

    Telling the OP that she sounds like a child, who hasn't gotten her way, is mean-spirited, my opinion, and doesn't amount to a hill of beans.

    I know what it is like to HATE a nursing job. I know how soul-sucking such an experience can be.

    Telling the OP she isn't ready for the job she truly wants, is bull crap.

    Obviously, I don't know this person, or her circumstances or where she lives.

    Is moving an option?

    Where I live, there are lots of nursing jobs. Hence, it is easier for a new grad to land the job they want, as opposed to being forced to take what is available.

    Life is full of options, if you are open to those options.
  13. by   booter512
    You stated, "I went to nursing school to take care of pregnant women, then I got sidetracked". What does this mean? You probably had 1 semester in OB. You went to school to learn how to become a nurse. I've worked at several hospitals, and rarely does the OB unit hire new grads. You need to learn to take care of patients. Don't jeopardize your career by not returning to work. That kind of action could keep you from ever getting into an OB unit.
  14. by   Megan1977
    Ddestiny-
    You are so right when you said that health care is a small community- leaving the new grad program at this point and under the stated circumstances (very limited job opportunities for new grads) would be a career damaging move. If Needs Advice plans on living and working in her current community, she better put a smile on her face, exude positive energy and finish the new grad program.

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