Hello Nurse Beth,
I am about to graduate with my second bachelor's in nursing. I moved to a new city for the program but knew I wasn’t going to stay here. I have applied all over including my home state (CA-which is hard to get a job for new grads) and have gotten a few interviews and offers in some other states and cities. One offer is for an adult cardiac step-down unit in a magnet hospital in a city that I’ve been to and like, and have some friends who live there or will be moving to start a job there as well. I have always worked with kids and want to be a pediatric nurse. This offer requires a 2-year commitment with the hospital but you can switch units if you want within those two years. Side note: I’ve applied for the children’s hospital residency in this city as well but have yet to hear back (it’s a ranked hospital as well).
I also got an offer in a different city that I never imagined or wanted to move to but had told myself I could live anywhere for a year if it was for a good experience. This city is much smaller, a poorer city, and known for its tourist destination which could be fun for a year or so or could be awful. (I can disclose cities if you want just figured I’d try to avoid bias LOL). This offer is for a stand-alone children’s hospital, it does not require a commitment, and it would give me peds experience.
The extremely stressful dilemma I am in (IDK any nurses or have anyone in healthcare in my family or friends) is - do I take an offer at a more well known and ranked magnet hospital, in a city I like, in a good unit, but working with a patient population I don’t think I want to work with, in hopes I can get experience and get a peds job in the future? Or do I move to a city I don’t know much about or care for, to get specialty experience, and just see it as a year of experience that I can use to get a job in a city I want to move to in the future?
I don’t think it would be such a dilemma for me if my 29th birthday wasn’t approaching and the impending aging doom was subconsciously affecting me. I have this fear of bouncing around cities (again after this year in a new city) which would mean I have less of a chance of settling and planting some roots.
It seems obvious that I should go with the specialty but I’m so torn and pros and cons lists aren’t helping, and I’ve been obsessively trying to make this decision for weeks. So, I figured any outside source could help. I appreciate you taking the time to read this and thank you for letting me rant!! 😅🥺✨
Dear Wants to be Peds Nurse,
Congratulations on having 2 job offers! That is wonderful. So many new grads have trouble just landing one offer, and it's ironic that here you are with 2 job offers..plus a dilemma!
Like you said, the pros and cons method doesn't solve your problem because line items are not equally weighted. You could have just 1 pro that outweighs 5 cons, right?
Likewise, I (or anyone) could convincingly argue for either option:
You should absolutely go with the magnet hospital because the city is great, you have friends (work-life balance), and you can always transfer later to Peds. You will learn a lot, get an amazing foundation at a ranked hospital that will be awesome on your resume! You won't regret it!
The small hospital in a poor city may have a sketchy orientation program, fewer resources, and is less likely to have evidence-based practices. They don't require a commitment, what is that, a hiring angle? Almost all reputable hospitals require a commitment. Besides, how many nurses change their preferences within a year or two? Lots. Be smart.
You should definitely go with the hospital offering you Peds because that's where your heart is, one year is nothing in the grand scheme of things and the time will fly by. The city isn't important, a prestigious hospital isn't important, the specialty trumps all. Don't not pick it out of fear (city-jumping at the age of 29), fear is never a good reason to base a decision. You want Peds and you were offered Peds! Why would you not go for it!
Magnet hospitals are overrated and you don't want adults, much less adult cardiac stepdown! You'll make new friends easily. Go with your passion and sacrifice a nice city for your end goal.
You may be stuck in analysis paralysis at this point. So I'm going to assume you've weighed all the factors such as salary, growth opportunities, benefits and so on.
If you and I were in the same room right now, I'd toss a coin in the air and make you call Heads or Tails without letting you think about it, Heads being Peds, and Tails being Stepdown.
Or I would simply tell you that Heads is Peds, Tails is Stepdown, and watch your reaction when it lands either Heads up or Tails up. Are you dismayed? Or are you happy?
I believe you already have the answer within yourself. It's difficult to get to because of time pressure, anxiety, and fear of making the wrong decision. Talk it through with a friend or family member who knows you well and who you trust. Not necessarily asking them for a decision, because only you can decide. But it's helpful to consider their input, and very helpful to listen to yourself articulate the situation out loud.
Which job excites you the most?
What do your instincts tell you?
Remember that, in a way, it's all good. In 1 year or 2 years at the most, you will be an experienced nurse who is qualified to go most anywhere.
Best wishes in your choice 🙂