Quote from HayRayRN
I'm a first year nurse. I'm also in my early twenties. Right out of school, I accepted a job in a nurse residency that offered training for a 2 yr contract and monetary agreement. I could not find another job, and was naive about accepting this job. I was never advised that with contracted jobs -- the hospital might have a retention problem. The program was extremely hyped up, and I felt like I needed the education. Fast forward to now, I work on my own on a surgical floor. I feel like things are not safe and I'm risking my license a lot of times. I've also realized that this floor is in general not a good fit for me. I go home after work in tears, unhappy and scared for my license and my mental health. Without getting into too much detail, I've talked to coworkers and they too think the floor is not a good fit for me. The only thing that keeps me pushing is the contract and my coworkers. I accept full responsibility for picking this job, even though now when I reflect, it seems to look like a trap for new grads. So my question is: Should I seek transfer (not sure they will let me)? Should I break my contract?
You're a first year nurse in your early 20s -- the first year of nursing is extremely difficult. Many, if not most new grads believe that things are not safe, that they're risking their licenses and/or their mental health and that their job is not a good fit for them. Sometime around the one year mark, something just "clicks" and most realize that they've got this, they can do this job. Many come to love their jobs and their colleagues. I suggest you wait to even consider breaking your contract until you're at that one year mark. Things may feel very different then.
If your colleagues believe that the floor isn't a good fit for you, are they unhappy enough with your work to take it to the manager? If the manager genuinely feels that you aren't a good fit for the unit (which may be different from the unit not being a good fit for you), she may be able to arrange a transfer to another unit. If that happens, you'd be advised to stay for the length of your contract no matter how much you hate it.
Breaking a contract is about a lot more than not liking your job. If you break a contract, you announce that you are the type of person who does not keep her word. That is going to have consequences that may follow you around. Nursing is a small world. I've worked with the same nurse at the University of (Random midwest state) and the University of (gorgeous west coast state). I worked with a classmate at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston (which shows how long I've been out of school!) and a student of mine (on the east coast) was hired by a friend of mine (on the west coast). In fact, in every single hospital I've worked, I have worked with at least one person I had worked with elsewhere, including my very first hospital job where one of the interns had flipped burgers where I was a server. Even if HR isn't allowed to give anything more than start and end dates and eligibilty for rehire, people talk. If they talk about you, make sure they're saying something nice.