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Super Discouraged New RN

juliam juliam (New) New

Specializes in ICU/Critical Care, Coronary Unit.

I'm just looking for some encouragement I guess... I graduated in 2010 and passed boards last year. :yeah::nurse: :redbeathe I worked night shift in the ICU for a couple of years as a tech and then stayed only a month after passing boards to find a better schedule. I worked my first full year as an RN doing a job I didn't love and ended up in a company where the management was horrendous. It was absolutely awful. :banghead: So I left there to end up in yet another nursing job that I am unsure of... I enjoy the actual nursing work but I don't think the job is going to work out for me financially. I know I'm being vague but basically, I'm reaching out to ask more experienced nurses how long it took you to find your "place" in the nursing field?? I did love the ICU and miss the 12-hour shifts and actually find myself missing the night shift even but I have no idea where to go or how to even try and figure out where I belong? :confused: I don't want to jump from job to job but how do you know if you like/love something until you actually do the job? Right? Is there any test I can take to guide my decision on what steps to take to move in the direction that is going to be best for me? I just need some guidance and/or some encouragement. I worked really hard to get to where I am and feel like it's not quite paying off just yet, and not just financially but emotionally/mentally... Help! I don't want to be a failure. :sniff:


Specializes in ICU/Critical Care, Coronary Unit.

Anyone? Anyone? :sniff:

Altra, BSN, RN

Specializes in Emergency & Trauma/Adult ICU.

If you have spent a full year in a specific area of nursing out of the ICU and still feel drawn back to the critical care environment, I'd say that's probably sufficient time to make that decision. There's nothing stopping you from beginning a search for an ICU position. Take your time, and tailor your resume & cover letters to emphasize that you have worked in an ICU setting before.

Not sure what to say about the financial issue, although you seem to indicate that you don't currently work 12-hour shifts so perhaps you are working 4 or 5 days per week and you feel that a 3 day/week schedule would reduce your gas & parking costs?

Good luck in your search.

TheCommuter, BSN, RN

Specializes in Case mgmt., rehab, (CRRN), LTC & psych. Has 14 years experience.

how do you know if you like/love something until you actually do the job?
After 15 years of being employed in various fields (and 6+ years of employment as a nurse), I can unequivocally state that I have not truly liked or loved any job that I have ever held. I prefer to find my happy medium and validation outside of the workplace.

My views might seem controversial, but I view employment as nothing more than a time-and-space occupier.


Specializes in Emergency. Has 11 years experience.

I know it sounds dorky but you could shadow some nurses. I think shadowing when you are actually a nurse gives a really good understanding of what the new area will be like.

NurseCard, ADN

Specializes in Med/Surge, Psych, LTC, Home Health. Has 13 years experience.

I've been a nurse for nine years and I am with TheCommuter... I haven't found

a single job that I absolutely love in nine years of being a nurse. It would be

nice to be one of those people who LOVES their job... I know plenty of ppl who

do, and I'm jealous.

I have pretty much come to the conclusion that my "niche" is psychiatry. It's

the one area that I really feel like I "fit into", I can go to work without wanting

to throw up from stress... I do at times feel like I make a difference... I think

I'm pretty good at it... but **LOVING** it? I've also come to the conclusion,

like TC, that I have to find my validation and my happiness outside of work.

BlueDevil,DNP, DNP, RN

Specializes in FNP, ONP. Has 25 years experience.

I love my present job. I am bored on the days off and look forward to going to work. Truth is, I'd do it for free.

But that isn't what you are asking, is it? How long did it take to find a niche? I don't know, I had several niches along the way. My advice is to ask yourself what it is that you want from the job and take a job that provides that, be it money, intellectual stimulation, emotional reward, etc. Whatever it is that you want from the job, make sure the job is offering it. That's how you find your niche. I loved my first job and only left it after about 18 months because we moved across the state. I didn't love my next job, which was my first critical care position, but I was learning a lot and knew it was a valuable stepping stone; at that point in my life I needed that income so I stayed there about 3 years and then moved on. I stayed in either critical care or the ED from that point forward though. I tried a little teaching on the side, enough to know it is not for me. Ditto administration. After 20 years I decided to go to grad school. I'll stay where I am until I think I've gotten the most from the experience I can, and then I'll look for a new opportunity to grow. I'm too old to stay in a job I don't love, and I don't need the money anymore so the reward has to be something more significant.

canesdukegirl, BSN, RN

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

It sounds like you miss critical care. Is there something stopping you from going back to the ICU? Life is too long to spend your time working in an environment that doesn't intrigue you.

I started out on a Med/Surg unit, got some wonderful experience, went on to the PACU where I increased my knowledge base but didn't love it. Then I went to the OR and FELL. IN. LOVE. I would do it for free, I love it so much. Give me an emergent exploratory laparotomy and I am in heaven!

What drives you? Does knowledge and exposure drive you? Does a great schedule with no call drive you? Do you find yourself amped up when you have a challenging pt with lots of lines, meds, and monitors? Do you like the analytical part of nursing? Do you prefer to have more or less pt contact? Do you enjoy interacting with families and teaching them about home care? Do you like having a calm environment, or would that bore you?

I was in your same situation when I first started out in Med/Surg. The post-ops were my favorite pts. So I decided to go to the PACU, where every pt is post-op. Then I thought it would be cool to actually be in the OR, so I applied and got accepted into an OR position.

I think that the suggestion of shadowing is a great idea. Please don't view yourself as a failure for not finding you niche...it takes time. The beauty of nursing is that there are so many avenues to pursue. Think back to your rotations in nursing school-what rotations did you like? Which did you despise? Write down your strengths and your weaknesses. Then compare your lists. I would bet the farm that you will find yourself drawn back to the ICU.

Be gentle with yourself. Rome wasn't built in a day...you will find your Nirvana.