I have been working as a nurse since October 2016. I work on an observation unit in a busy and highly rated hospital. Patients on my floor come in for observation after surgery and procedures and usually leave within 24 hours or less. My coworkers are fantastic and it seems that most of them love working there! Many of them were hired as new grads and have stayed and been there for years.
Back in nursing school, I didn't like med-surg and told myself I wouldn't work in MS if I could avoid it. After graduating, I was initially looking for an L&D job, but this job fell into my lap and at the time it was a very good option (It IS a good job). Upon hiring me, my boss let me know she expected me (and all of the other new grads) to be staying on the floor for 3-5 years. But I never signed any sort of contract.
So I worked there from Oct '16 through August '17 when I got into a mountain bike accident. I broke my clavicle, had a seizure on impact, concussion, tore up my knee, etc, and I ended up needing surgery. I was out of work on medical leave from August '17 - late January '18.
Almost 3 weeks ago I started back at work. It was a tough move because during my medical leave I had moved home with family and was living in my hometown (which I love). I'm now back in the city and away from my family, which is hard. Since being back, I'm having a really hard time feeling settled. I know now more than ever that this is not the unit I want to be on. My current lease runs until the end of June. I'm thinking if I stay till then, that would give me a little over a year of actual experience being an RN. My fear is that my manager won't give me a good reference because I'm not staying there 3-5 years.
My other issue is what I will do if I leave this job. I've always wanted to try out travel nursing, and this seems to be a good time to do it. The other option is to move back to my hometown and work at the hospital there. Unfortunately, I've heard from many patients who have had experiences there that it's not a very good hospital.
So what's your advice? Should I stay at my current job for as long as possible or is it okay to quit later on this year if I'm really unhappy? Is it worth it to sacrifice my happiness and satisfaction for a job I'm not interested in for the sake of experience and a good reference?(Would potential jobs accept references from coworkers or charge RNs?) How easy would it be to find a travel nursing job if I were to leave this one with a year of experience? I need advice! Thank you everyone in advance.
You need at least two years of experience in your specialty to succeed as a travel nurse. There are disreputable recruiters who may say you can get by with less, but it's not a good idea. You need to be able to hit the ground running with only minimal orientation.
It sounds as if you've been back at work less than a month after a major injury and a medical leave. Give it some time -- another month or two -- before you make any plans. Travel nursing isn't an option right now, so think about other options.
Here's an option you seem to be overlooking . . . try making up your mind to be happy at your current job. If you have great coworkers who love their jobs, there must be something to like there.