Need career advice for an RN who doesn't know where to go

  1. Hello everyone! I graduated with a BScN, passed my CRNE, and now just about to start my first job as an RN in acute geriatrics unit in a hospital. The main reason why I took this job was because I just wanted to get some experience already and I got so sick of applying for months for a job. I do think that working in geriatrics is great since the bulk of our population will require geriatric care (baby boomers!) - but it's just not for me. Perhaps I will stay in this position for 1 year or so then I know I would have to move on.

    Now the problem is, I have absolutely no clue where I want to be in nursing. I could take courses and certifications but I don't know where to start! I was thinking of getting Critical Care Courses but I don't even know whether I want to be in Emerg or ICU-and let's face it, these courses are not cheap. I don't want to spend my time, energy and money taking courses that won't even need after all. Mental health is interesting..but as novice nurse, I think I would be more marketable when I have acquired my " acute nursing skills" first. It seems like Cardiac nurses are in demand nowadays but again, that would mean I would have to take Coronary care courses, which is very expensive and I'm not even sure if that's what I want. Community Nursing would be interesting as well or working in outpatient clinics. Someone did mention to me about the De Souza designation for nurses working in Oncology. This interested me simply because it is free and it is a great asset in a resume if I wanted to be in Palliative/Oncology care. Would taking this course help me in getting a job in Oncology/Palliative care in the future? Travel nursing would be interesting as well, but it seems like the demand is for Emerg and ICU nurses. (I am an RN in Ontario, Canada)

    Sorry for the long blurb ... I just want to know, how did you get to the area that you like? Did you just keep on changing areas/units until you found what you love? What steps did you take going from one area of nursing to the other? Any advice would be greatly appreciated

    p.s. I am 22 years old with no dependents. I currently work part-time so I guess that creates a great opportunity to study part time as well
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    About mcdq

    Joined: Feb '13; Posts: 8


  3. by   Nurse ABC
    Slow down and don't worry so much! You're just getting started. Some people know what they want to do in school and make that their goal. Others discover it somewhere along the way by trial and error and some are still searching. I don't know about in Canada but here in the US we don't usually worry about getting certifications and classes in something unless already hired in that area or unless it's something we know beyond a doubt we want to go into. Our hospital will pay for our critical care classes, ALS classes, etc-whatever we need once we're hired onto that unit and they don't expect us to have it to be hired. Learn what you can from the area you're in. You may end up loving it. If not, at least you'll learn more about what you do or don't like. Just focus on learning from this first job and then see what peaks your interest in a year or so and try that. You're still going to learn a lot and be exposed to all sorts of cases and from that you can learn more about what interests you. Also it may be a good idea if you can float to different units to get a better perspective of what you may find interesting. I've done med-surg, home health, OB, surgery, school nursing, and now doing med-surg/oncology. I swore I'd never do oncology because I found it so depressing but I actually enjoy my cancer patients the most. They have such a positive attitude and resiliance that I don't see other places. It does get depressing at times but it's also very rewarding. Each area has its ups and downs. You'll eventually find what works best for you but it's ok to not know right away!
  4. by   Fiona59
    I don't know about Ontario but here in Alberta, when you are hired by Emerg, ICU, Dialysis, and the OR the hospitals pay for the education and pay you while you are getting it.

    When I started out, I thought I'd love Geriatrics. I have the utmost respect and admiration for nurses who work those units, it's not for me. During school, I discovered that I loved post op care.

    It just takes time to find the right fit. I've worked a couple of surgical units and loved them. Ultimately, for me it's who I work with that makes me like my job.
  5. by   JustBeachyNurse
    Moved to Nursing in Canada forum in World Nursing section to elicit further response
  6. by   joanna73
    I would have to agree. It's not so much the specialty as the culture of the unit and the people you work with that makes or breaks it. Learn as much as you can from this job, then move on to something else later. You don't need to decide right away.
  7. by   mcdq
    Thanks Nurse ABC! You made me think about this issue on a more positive light. I should definitely take this as a learning experience and see what aspects I like about it. I just don't know if all hospitals would pay for your education. Looking at job descriptions, it looks like they already want you to have certifications even before being considered for an interview. For example, for the hospital that I'm working in, you need critical care courses as an essential requirerment to be a float nurse.
  8. by   mcdq
    Fiona59, I wonder if the hospitals in Ontario would do the same... I just don't know if other areas would hire me WITHOUT the education....
  9. by   mcdq
    Joanna73, I agree with you as well. I could be in a great specialty but I might hate my job because of the people I work with. I just wish I have a direction that I can go to..

    And I apologize for the multiple posts for replying, it's my first time here and not sure how to do things :P
  10. by   Daisy_08
    Most hospitals in ON are union, so if you apply with seniority you will likely get it ( however the icu does require a lot of experience). My hospital give you some money, but may not cover all of the courses.
  11. by   mcdq
    Daisy_08, does that mean for me to apply to another area, I dont necessarily need to have these courses done?
  12. by   Daisy_08
    Quote from mcdq
    Daisy_08, does that mean for me to apply to another area, I dont necessarily need to have these courses done?
    Yes, if you have seniority apply. If you are top seniority they will at least interview you and tell you to take xyz and reapply once you have them
  13. by   ruralgirl08
    A lot of newer grad nurses after getting a solid year, transition to a float nurse position, if they are wanting to try out different areas. I have nursing 5 yrs, and am wondering if the perfect "fit" actually exists. A lot of other factors are important such as: schedule, people, and commute, ect. which influence finding that "perfect" job that works for you. I am a believer that education is always a good thing. But if you don't want to spend the money, try applying to areas of interest and see what happens. Experience is always the most valuable asset in nursing.
  14. by   nikki_nurse

    I feel like I'm in the same position as you. In a RN and I worked acute care in a rural hospital for a year and now I'm working in LTC. I'm thinking about trying to get into acute/ER care at our small hospital so I'm working on getting my ACLS since they require it.

    I would advise to think about where you want to work (which is hard - I'm still not sure where exactly I want to work) and if needed get additional certifications if needed. Looking at job applications for similar positions and see what type of requirements is helpful.