Published Nov 13, 2017
Is it best to get experience on the floors before choosing to specialize or does it matter?
I've heard both sides of this argument and I think it really depends on what specialty you are after.
Do you want cardiac, ICU, ER? Then I think I im working on any kind of med surg floor will he valuable
Do you want NICU, OR or Peads? Maybe try to start off in one of these areas or something related to it. Nurses who come to NICU having done adult nursing in the past, are like new grads again.
CardiacDork, MSN, RN
I've seen plenty of new grads blossom in ICU. In fact, I've seen a few floor nurses ask to return to the floor or not make it and get sent back. I used to be a floor nurse and although there was some value to my floor experience, I think the floor mindset was difficult to leave behind. It's not a "wrong" mindset, it's just not the critical care ICU mindset.
Luckily I was able to mold my nursing practice into that of the ICU.
Also some floor nurses think the ICU is some paradise where we "only" get two patients and they come to find out after being hired that the ICU is actually very busy in a different way than the floor and some floor nurses prefer the stress and busy of the floor.
Me? I would never want the floor busy. 6 patients? Heck no. Give me my two dying patients that I have to know all about.
Start out in the ICU if that's what you want
Start out in L/D if that's what you want... etc
As a new grad, you do not often have a lot of choice of first job. Your first job is wherever you can get hired. This varies depending on local job market.
I worked on the med-surg as a new grad because that is who was willing to hire a new nurse.
My ICU hires maybe 2 new graduates a year. One of our new nurses said that she was one of 700 applicants for her position.
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