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Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert Nurse Verified

Should New Grad Take Casual or Full-time Job?

Nurse Beth   (439 Views 1 Comments)
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Dear Nurse Beth,

Thank you for your book. It helped me score my first job. :)

I just got hired on to my first acute care job into a General Surgical/Orthopedics floor as a casual at a hospital where I did my final consolidation before graduation. I got hired on the spot. 1f60aThe manager was saying she already wanted to hire me, but the interview was a needed formality. She called me within an hour after my interview saying there's also an open temporary full-time line on the medical/surgical overflow side of the floor, which I can have if I'm interested. I asked for a few days to consider the full-time line.

I right now would like the hours to pay off my student loan and be financially set. A full-time line would allow this easily. However, my heart in is in general surg/ortho. Medicine really isn't my thing. I'm thinking regardless as a new grad this is a great opportunity, but not what I really want. Casual does come with its flexibility and I can float to the medicine side occasionally, but I would like my home base to be general surg/orthopedics. As well I don't want to be stuck in one spot, that I'm not happy with. As well within the hospital you can float around after a few months. I am unsure how the casuals and new grads are doing right now for their hours though on the floor in general. Plus, as a casual, I can travel a lot more easier in the summer months.

I am considering taking the line, just for the guaranteed hours. I don't want to be picky as a new grad, but my heart would not 100% be in it. I would love to hear the insight of someone like yourself, who is experienced. Should you take the line on the medicine/surg overflow side or stick to casual on the general surg/ortho floor, especially as a new grad? The manager knows I would like to eventually move onto the cardiac floor and is happy to introduce me to the manager on the cardiac floor when I feel ready.

Dear Don't Want to be Picky,

Congrats on landing your first job and glad my book helped you!

Not knowing what country you're from, I can only answer from my experience, which is in the States. A "casual" work status here typically means no benefits and little or no guarantee of hours. "Casual" is more suitable for an experienced nurse.

The first year is when you're learning time management and transitioning from a beginner to a competent practicing nurse. Take the job that will provide the most stability for the first year. You can always transfer to the specialty of your choice later.

Best wishes,


Nurse Beth

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


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