Should I Quit My Nurse Residency?

Nurses Residency


Dear AllNurses, 

I have a bit of a dilemma. After I passed my NCLEX, I searched for jobs for months. It seemed near impossible to find a job in my preferred specialty: L&D and Mother Baby. Eventually I caved and accepted a job offer on a MS Oncology floor in a hospital 45 minutes away because I needed to start to make money. After only a week and a half of starting the new residency, I heard back from my top hospital with a job offer in Mother Baby (my dream!) but now I don't know what to do. I don't want to burn my bridges with the hospital I'm currently at, but I'm unhappy there. I just don't know how I should quit. 
also, the residency is completely online at home on zoom, so I've only seen the floor once. So it's hard to come in person to quit. 

Specializes in Oncology (OCN).

The nurse residency program is online?  What??  Is this a thing now?  I graduated a long time ago (20+ years).  It was very different.  We had classroom during our 6 week orientation but it was one day a week (8a-3pm) and then one day (8a-3p) was spent doing skills, mock codes, working with and/or learning about interdisciplinary teams (PT/OT, pharmacy, social work, IT, lab, radiology, etc).  We also spent two 12's on the floor each week with a preceptor.  First week we followed our preceptor.  Second week we took 1-2 patients (with our preceptor's oversight) and helped with the preceptor's other patients as able.  Third & 4th week we took 3-4 patients.  After 4 weeks we were through with classroom & skills and spent the remaining 2 weeks on the floor doing three 12's (basically taking a full patient load with the preceptor following us and available for questions, support, advice, backup, etc.).  Occasionally they would extend orientation if needed but usually 6 weeks was enough.

As far as your question about quitting-only you can decide what's best for you.  Leaving during orientation will likely burn a bridge with your current hospital system.  If you aspire to ever work for that hospital system again just know leaving during orientation will probably result in you put on a "do not hire" list.  That said, at only a week & a half in (which is way too soon to determine you're unhappy IMO), it honestly doesn't sound like they have invested a lot into your nurse residency program at this point.  Again, only you can decide what's best for you.

Just as an aside, I originally wanted to do NICU.  Spent my senior practicum in NICU.  I took a job in medical oncology because it's what was available and I absolutely fell in love with it.  It's where I spent most of my career, eventually becoming OCN (national certification in oncology).  Best of luck with whatever you decide.

Specializes in Postpartum/Public Health.

Hi Iris,

Funny enough, I had a similar situation happen to me. I had accepted a temporary full time position in MedSurg, and 1 week before I was supposed to start my orientation, I had received an offer in Mother Baby at my dream hospital. Honestly, if you inform your manager that it is your dream to work in MBU, they should understand. If the hospital is 45 minutes away, what is the likelihood that you actually would want to work there in the future? The hospital itself would probably not take the rejection seriously, it would more likely be the manager on the unit that you work for, but from experience most nurses I know that go into a speciality like maternity do not have any intention of going back to MedSurg, so you should be fine. And if the manager did take offense for you choosing your dream speciality, then they probably wouldn't be the best manager to work with. You would want to work with a manager that would be supporting your career goals. 

Specializes in Health Writing, Critical Care & Advanced Practice.


Congratulations on landing your dream job! Now, it's up to you to seize the opportunity. A life lived pleasing everyone (and every employer) but yourself leaves little room to achieve your goals and ultimately self-actualize. If what you're looking for is anecdotal, here you go: I have worked at a total of nine facilities in my career, reasons having been to gain speciality experience, travel nurse, provide disaster relief during COVID, and to role transition from RN to NP. I have never felt the need to rehire into a former facility. But that's not really my point. The message here is that the nursing landscape is full of opportunities ready for you to make your own! Perhaps, do not allow the fear of the rumored "do not hire list" prevent you from taking what is already yours. In this case, a promising role in which you will bring life into the world and support mothers at the most vulnerable moment in their lives. Instead, let love (of your work) guide you.

With love and encouragement,


If this is truly your dream job and one that doesn't come available very often I think it may be worth making the jump. Just have to weigh the pros and cons and give ample notice is possible. 

I quit my nurse residency yesterday. I knew I wanted to after my second day on the floor. I did lots of research before I did and thankfully my hospital was VERY understanding. 

I would wake up to get ready for work and would cry. I had a sense of dread and depression every morning. I left my old job at dialysis clinic that I loved out of emotion and accepted a nurse position on a med surg floor.

My preceptor was amazing,the nurse residency ppl were supportive and nice. I just did not know the weight of the floor until I got on it. I wish I would've did a shadow before accepting the position.

I was so sad there everyday and was completely overwhelmed. The shift was 7a-730pm and multiple times I didn't have one break until 4pm. Multiple times it was 6 to 1 with my preceptor being charge nurse along with training me! I said oh no I can't do this long term it's not in my heart. The constant phone calls from Dr's or whoever really stresses me out. One day my preceptor goes I didn't even pee today! I was like nope I don't want this! I can't adequately care for someone if I hate what I'm doing. 

When it was time for my 4 week checking I could no longer lie and say everything was fine. I was asked how things were going and I poured out my heart,sobbing and all. Here in my town it is a big deal to work at the hospital and it's well respected. I felt like being in the hospital would make me feel more like a nurse. I came to realize that there is so many type of nurses and I am a nurse! I don't have to work at a hospital where I don't want to be to feel like one! I'm returning to my dialysis clinic and I couldn't be more happier!

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