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Should I Go to Postpartum as a New Grad?

Nurse Beth   (814 Views 5 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

341 Likes; 10 Followers; 81 Articles; 224,831 Visitors; 1,690 Posts


Dear Nurse Beth,

I currently work as a CNA on a postpartum floor. My manager has offered me a position as an RN when I graduate in two months. My other options for RN positions after graduation aren't what I would like so far: med surg and surgical trauma. I know the postpartum position would be easier while I looked for a different job. The postpartum floor I work now has flexible hours, a good patient load and I get along great with everyone there. My concern is that, if I stay here, I will quickly lose any general skills. We never have NG tubes, wound vacs, IV starts, etc on the floor. I wouldn't worry too much because I know these skills can be relearned but I have heard many of the nurses on my floor say they've been turned down for new positions they want because they work postpartum. Is this true? Should I go for a position I don't want on a more varied floor in order to increase my chances of getting a job I actually want in the future on an ER or ICU floor or are these nurses getting turned down for other reasons and blaming it on working a postpartum floor?

Dear Should I Go to Postpartum?

Essentially what others are telling you is true. As a newly graduated nurse, you benefit by exposure to multiple conditions and to patients who are acutely ill to broaden your experience and expertise. You are laying the foundation to your nursing practice and to your career.

In postpartum, you will learn a few core skills, such as time management, but nowhere near what you'd learn on MedSurg.

The reasons you list for going to postpartum (flexible hours, good staffing and congeniality) don't offset what you'll learn elsewhere. Take some time and make a list of what you want to learn and accomplish your first year out.

Basic arrhythmia? Experience and comfort level with codes and rapid response? Exposure to terminally ill patients? IV start expertise? ABG interpretation?

The skills and experience mentioned above are all beneficial to a nurse who ultimately wants to work  ICU or ED.  Good luck to you as you make the best decision for you. 

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!



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153 Likes; 6,128 Visitors; 509 Posts

I must be the luckiest RN ever. I love my med surg floor. I don’t see myself leaving any time soon. If ED or ICU is your goal, postpartum would be a mistake.

In med surg, you get a little bit of everything.  It’s not the skills. Anyone can learn those.  Even lay people do a lot when recovering at home. It’s the spidey sense you get when you know a patient is going to crash on your shift. It’s the assessment skills, time management, team work and delegation skills.  It’s learning to talk to doctors, patients, families, and coworkers and advocating for your patients. You get to educate, which can be very rewarding and very frustrating. Med surg has a lot to offer a nurse. It can be overwhelming, but it can be pretty awesome too.  

I know nothing about surgical trauma. I’m not a fan of blood and guts so that would not be someplace I’d gravitate towards. 

Good luck!

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shopgirl571 has 15 years experience as a ADN, BSN, LPN, RN and works as a RN.

2 Likes; 1,835 Visitors; 18 Posts

I currently work in an LDRP (labor delivery poatpartum)unit but when I first interviewed for the job which was right after getting my RN I was turned down. I was told to go start on the Med Surg floors get my core skills down, IV starts, critical thinking skills, time management and then come back in 2 years. 

I had been an LPN for 6 years prior to obtaining my RN and thought I was prepared. I took a job on a step down critical care unit which was the best decision I could have made. I learned so much in the 2 years that I was there and also found that I needed a change. The change I needed was for many reasons staffing issues, patient/nurse ratio and I realized I wanted to take care of mother’s and babies. 

I reapplied and had several interviews and I got the job.  I questioned my decision during my orientation as it was not what I thought it was going to be it has turned out to be the best place for me. I have been in my position now for over 2 years and I love it. I am glad I didn’t come right in after I graduated and went to work in a Med Surg Unit. You need to learn those skills so you can advance in your career. 

Good luck. 

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suseliz has 40 years experience.

1,061 Visitors; 44 Posts

As a new grad, I had the opportunity to work labor and delivery my first job. I really wanted to, but decided I wanted other experience first. (I know, not post partum as was specified in the letter.) No one would ever hire me for labor and delivery down the road because I did not have labor and delivery/post partum experience. Twenty years into my nursing career I was on to grad school to become an NP. I was working the float pool in my last job in the hospital and floated to post partum for a weekend. They begged me to transfer to their department. Moral of the story—go for what you want!

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MassNurse24 has 3 years experience as a BSN and works as a Registered Nurse.

3 Likes; 5,921 Visitors; 315 Posts

As a med surg nurse you will have exposure to placing NG tubes, IVs, chest tubes, etc. You’ll learn a great deal on a med surg floor. Post partum is great if that’s what you want but you most likely won’t be hanging TPN, doing NG tubes, etc. Your patients are (more often than not) healthy and independent. Good luck.

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