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Should New Grad go Part-time?

Nurse Beth   (2,664 Views 2 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.

367 Likes; 10 Followers; 82 Articles; 225,020 Visitors; 1,696 Posts


Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm a new grad RN on a med surg unit. I've been there about 6 months. I was wondering whether or not it would inappropriate to ask to be dropped to part-time at this time. I am interested in going part-time for a variety of reasons, however I do not want to make a mistake asking for this shift.

Dear Wants to go Part-time,

Without knowing your reasons for wanting to go part-time, I hope you can re-consider. Can you hold out at least 6 more months?

At 6 months out, you are not yet experienced and it will negatively affect your learning to drop to part-time. It's highly recommended to work full time for 1 if not 2 years. Patricia Benner, in her work on how nurses learn, stages newly licensed nurses such as yourself at the Advanced Beginner level. Benner's model is Novice, Advanced Beginner, Competent, Proficient, Expert.

You are not yet at the level of Competent, which typically includes nurses practicing at years 2 through 5. Learning builds on experience and exposure which takes time.

It took a long time to get where you're at, but you're still on the journey towards becoming a nurse. Best wishes with your decision.

Nurse Beth

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

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2,997 Visitors; 19 Posts

I'm not sure if the dynamics of the US system are vastly different to the Australian system but I'm a grad doing part time (I work 0.8 a fortnight, so four shifts per week) and I don't believe it's hindered my learning at all. If anything I feel I'm a better nurse as I have avoided any burn out, my mental health is much better, and I have the availability to do some post-graduate studies to increase my knowledge base.

Unless the US system strongly frowns upon going part-time (to the point whereby OP will struggle to get a job position) I think the part time lifestyle can be fantastic for some people! :)

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