switching areas of nursing

Nurses General Nursing


I am currently a med/surg nurse who would like to switch to a different area of nursing such as labor/delivery, peds, or nursery. The problem is that the only experience I have in these areas are from nursing school 3 years ago. The hospitals only seem to be interested in my med/surg experience and only want to hire me in this area. Any suggestions?


583 Posts

I feel the reason the hospitals are only interested in your Medsurg experience is because that is one of the hardest places to hire people into. Stick to your guns, and if necessary talk to the DON of the hospital you are at or where you are applying. Let them know where your intrests lie and they will try to get you there. After 3 years on MedSurg your skills should be first rate, you would be an asset to whatever area you went into. It will mean learning many new things, but you have the basics down.

If you let them know you are not interested in a MedSurg position it should be no problem, just be assertive and tell them where you are willing to work. If a new grad can get hired into those positions so can you!



We live in an age that if you order a pizza delivered to your house and call 911 at the same time to report a life or death situation....my money is on the pizza arriving first! Learn to protect yourself, become a wolf among the sheep!


656 Posts

Polish your resume, realize your strengths as a nurse with a strong med-surg background, apply for the positions you want -- don't sell yourself short. Attend seminars or workshops in your area (or hospital) regarding your desired field -- include this in your resume or interview. Don't apologize for your lack of experience. You survived med-surg without experience -- every nurse, at some point, is new to a field. Go for it -- don't take no for an answer. You will get the job you want. Have faith in yourself. As for the hospitals wanting you to do med-surg -- of course they do -- they are probably salivating at the thought of getting an experienced med-surg nurse. Go for the position YOU want, be picky with your salary -- you have a great deal to offer.


3 Posts

I have 1 year and 3 months med/surg experience and am interesting in OB nursing. I have been applying both in the hospital I am currently working in and others in the area without success for about 2-3 months. The LDRP at my current hospital has been advertising positions there for the past several months, so I applied. The NM there said she fiiled the positions already and she will keep me in mind in the future. That was about 3 weeks ago. This past sunday (yesterday) they had a prn position posted in the paper. So I don't understand why they won't even give me a chance??? I am planning on talking to her again this week.

So I know how you feel. All I can say is that we have to hang in there and eventually we will find a position in the field we want to be in!


349 Posts

A good way to get your foot in the door in L&D (which is how I did it), is to start out on the mother/baby side (or postpartum if your hosptial doesn't do mother/baby). Mother/baby units readily hire nurses with med/surg experience, and it's a good point of entry into L&D, peds, or nursery.


68 Posts

I can offer an idea on why you haven't been offered OB. Since OB is such a highly specialized unit and since it takes so long and such a great investment in the nurse to end up with a first rate L&D nurse, the hospitals can be expected to look for experience first. I recently completed the transfer from med-surg (with 4 years experience, all at the same facility) to our LDRP OB unit. I started by floating (yep, the nasty F-word of nursing) and caring for mother/baby and gynies, helping out with L&D as time allowed and just doing the general grunt work; answering call lights, doing admissions, starting IVs, pulling foleys, etc. When I was sure it was something I wanted to do full-time, I applied. The process wasn't as simple as I'm going to describe it, but in the interests of not losing your interest with a long post... I got the transfer. I was a known quantity in the hospital, the team with which I am now orienting knew me and I know that I'm compatible with them, and I have a head start over a new hire because I'm already familiar with all the non-unit-specific workings of the facility. Its turning out to be a fairly smooth transition.

My advice? If an offer of OB doesn't come your way using the others' suggestions, accept a med-surg position at the hospital with the OB unit of your choice with the written proviso that the hospital will provide you with classes (fetal monitoring, NALS, or whatever its called now, etc) and "first shot" at an opening in OB after a decent period of time of continuous employment, perhaps 6 months to a year. (This is part of my story that I didn't bore you with that a competing hospital offered me & I came near to accepting.) It may not be ideal as far as time is concerned, but it gets you in the door and, at least here, the pay is the same so money isn't a factor. Just thought I'd throw out the idea for another route to take. I wish you the best.

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