Hi PHN's! I'm facing a bit of a dilemma, and wanted to get some input from those who have been working in public health, and/or have transitioned from acute care to public health.
Around January/February this year I interviewed for two very different nursing positions as a new grad nurse, but both maternal-child health related (my passion): One in a very well known hospital system, within their new grad residency program. The hospital is about 1 1/2 hour - 2-hour commute from my home. The other position was/is in public health and with an MIECHV (maternal, infant and early childhood home visiting) program that is headquartered in my immediate community. The MIECHV role really is my dream job.
While the interview process for both positions happened within the same couple of months, the hiring process did not. Due to state budget issues, the MIECHV program experienced a hiring freeze around the time when I anticipated hearing whether or not I got the job. Long story short, I was told there was no definitive time on when hiring would resume for that role (darn and blast), and in my mind I wrote the position off.
Luckily and thankfully, I received an offer of employment with the new grad residency program. I accepted the acute care offer quite happily, and feeling quite lucky actually to have been chosen given how competitive the program is. I figured that I would complete the residency, and then look for employment closer to home after that first year - and/or hopefully the public health/MIECHV position would be out of its hiring freeze by then.
Of course, it's never that easy. Right before the July 4th weekend (so, almost 5 months after my interview) I received a phone call from the nurse supervisor of the MIECHV program saying that they were resuming hiring, and wanted to offer me employment. I was thrilled, and also - Murphy’s Law.
I have spoken with the nursing supervisor and they are aware I am employed. They have graciously given me time to make a choice, because I have to consider not just what I want but also the position of my current employer (ethical dilemma’s abound).
The only reason I would even consider
leaving my current job so soon after being hired is because these MIECHV positions don't come around often. Well, not in my area at least. They are looking to fill positions now - and historically, once filled, they remain filled for years and years until nurses leave. There really may not be another opportunity to work in this dream job of mine for years. Certainly, anything is possible - but historically that's not usually the case.
I have been in my current position for almost 4 months, and I'm still in my probationary period. The only thing I can (and do) complain about is my commute - but the program itself is robust, and while very different from public health, it's maternal-child health related and I feel thoroughly supported as a new grad.
But here is my dream job calling me (literally) - very similar pay, slightly better schedule (and by better, I just mean more consistent), similar level of benefits and pension, fantastic nurses, lots of transition support. The big plus (as trite as it sounds) is that it's close to home. But oh, the timing!
I am a second-career nurse, and older (well, relative to my graduating class
). I do already have an idea of where I'd like my nursing career to go – and most of my goals lead me to public health work. But, if I leave inpatient for public health so early in my career - will I be doing myself a disservice? Should I stick with this acute care role for the year, and get that experience under my belt - will that make me a better public health MIECHV nurse, should there be an opportunity later on? Is it common to leave jobs in nursing so quickly? Or will my name be on some 'RN Naughty' list for eternity? Am I allowed to even take
a dream job so soon in my career? I paid my dues in my first career, working my way up from the bottom - isn't that what I should
do now? (...My therapist would tell me, "Stop with the should's!", and my Millennial friends would tell me I deserve to follow my bliss. But as someone straddling Gen X and Gen Y, I'm so conflicted: I very much want to grab this dream opportunity but at the same time I feel that I need to strap on some potato sacks for shoes and walk 15 miles in the snow to work because...work ethic!)
I have quit jobs in my life. Touch wood, I've always handled those situations well and (except for one ill-advised period of cringeworthy ignorance in my very early 20s) have not burned bridges. But I've really never been as invested in my career as I am with nursing - being a nurse means a great deal to me and I don't want to mis-step so early on in my career. And, I already know - nursing is a small world.
Yes, this is a dream job. And yes, if I were talking to a friend I'd probably tell them to follow their passion (or something like that). But it's different when the shoe is on the other foot. I'm thoroughly conflicted. Reading Robert Frost and thinking about taking the road less traveled is not helping either - it's just making me nauseous.
Forgive the lengthy post. I wanted to provide as much information as I could. I look forward to your responses/advice/musings/doses of reality/face palms of disbelief.
Ps. I have cross posted this in OB Specialty aswell.
Jul 6, '17
Hi Everline! Thanks for your wisdom and encouragement. I'd say our experiences are similar. I also have this underlying belief that I need to do floor nursing first - I think it comes from beliefs impressed on me by some instructors and preceptors in my nursing program. But, honestly, bedside never really fit. I actually really do enjoy my current job, and in just a few months my knowledge and skills has grown exponentially (more so than I thought possible, actually). I just don't find the work fulfilling, and while I know not every job is going to tick every box, I have been around long enough to know that if it doesn't feel right, it's not sustainable forever. I just thought I would complete the program and have that year of experience under my belt before moving on. So, this turn of events, while wonderful, is posing a number of challenges - personally and professionally.
I have written my short and long term goals, and they don't involve going back to bedside nursing or having years of acute care experience. I see myself in public health long term - working with the mother-child population and on maternal health programs and projects in the community.
Given that you also left fairly shortly after starting your acute care job, how did you approach it with your supervisor? How did you explain why you were leaving so soon? Did you even need to go into a lot of detail?
Last edit by estoquodes on Jul 6, '17