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Typical med-surg floor or speciality unit for first RN job opinions?

First Year   (3,562 Views | 8 Replies)
by cat1235 cat1235 (Member)

3,851 Profile Views; 87 Posts

I'm just looking to get opinions about what different people think in regards to what kind of job a new RN should start off with. Some people stress working on an adult med-surg floor to gain experience before trying to apply to a specialty unit. While others seem quite enthusiastic and encouraging about going straight into a specialty unit as a new grad.

To clarify, I'm addressing specialty units as ones such as ICU, oncology, peds, emergency room, NICU, etc ... if you get my drift.

Reason I'm asking is, I strongly am interested in more "specialty" units than I am general med-surg floors. I know past graduates who have got hired into places like the NICU right after graduating ... and there's some positions I'm looking at right now that are open to new grads in the ICU.

So what's everyone's opinion? Good idea to dive into a specialty or "complex" unit or stick to adult med-surg straight out of school?

Personally I feel like whatever you get into as a new grad, you're so new, you're going to soak everything up like a sponge no matter where you are, and they basically reteach you a lot of things in the hospital that you weren't taught much about in nursing school .... so you might as well just jump into a specialty unit UNLESS adult med-surg is just truly would you want to do.

What are your thoughts???

And to clarify what I'm specifically interested in (hence the reason I'm asking opinions):

Peds oncology ****** WOULD LOVE THIS. But would take any peds floor or adult oncology as well.

NICU - am considering. Have a piqued interest lately if I couldn't get into peds starting out (I know many others who got into NICU as a new grad so it seemed more promising if I can't make it onto a peds unit at first)

ED - I LOVED my ED rotation, more than I thought I would.

Adult ICU- I found myself interested in ICU and thought I might want to work there oneday, but this is the one specialty I actually DON'T want to start out in but might want to work in after I gain experience down the road. HOWEVER, there are some ICU positions open to new grads, and I will take what I can get so I'm considering starting here now :o

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127 Posts; 2,872 Profile Views

My opinion = GO WITH WHAT YOU LOVE! Many RNs say to start at med-surg because you need that "basic" knowledge. However, if you are willing to be patient to get into your specialty right away, GO FOR IT! It may be a lot harder going straight into a specialty like ICU, but I think it'll be worth it. Going the other route with starting on a general med-surg floor isn't bad either. You will learn A LOT! It will teach you a lot as a new nurse. BUT, don't force yourself to do something you don't want to do.

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41 Posts; 2,555 Profile Views

I'm in my first position as a new grad--a postpartum and post-op gyn unit. I love it and I'm so happy about my decision. Lots of people told me to do that magical year of med-surg first, and no shade to med-surg, but I'm happy I went with my heart and took this opportunity, esp since OB can be so hard to get into. Who knows how long it would've eventually taken me to get into OB if I hadn't taken this job and did med-surg first instead?

So I say, definitely stay open to getting any nursing experience after school, but if you find an opportunity to get into the specialty of you dreams, go for it!

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87 Posts; 3,851 Profile Views

Thanks guys for your opinions! I think I will definitely take a job into a unit I'm highly interested in if given the chance, without a doubt! If I'm not able, med-surg it is until I'm able to! Haha.

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1 Article; 1,161 Posts; 22,183 Profile Views

If you can get hired on a unit that you love=go for it! I am a new grad and got hired in L&D and do not think I will ever want to do anything else! I have classmates in med/surg, but also in ICU, NICU, and one in peds onc and they have no regrets about going into specialty units either. On any specialty unit you are likely to use almost all of your skills...and that's important, so in my opinion that first year in med/surg is not necessary. I don't know of any new grads in the ED tough. I think that is a bit too chaotic for someone just starting to learn...but I could be wrong about that.

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haunani has 9 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Ortho/Neuro (2yrs); Mom/Baby (6yrs); LDRP (<1yr).

125 Posts; 5,228 Profile Views

Personally, I'm a fan of getting the general med/surg experience under your belt before jumping into a specialty. Most nurses that I spoke with when I was in school recommended this and I'm glad I followed their recommendation. I stayed on the med/surg unit for 2 years before moving to my favored specialty unit (post-partum) and I'm SO thankful I did.

I really learned a lot about time management, prioritization and working under extreme stress that have really helped me in so many ways. I see a lot of new grads coming straight into my unit now and they struggle with what, to me (after working med/surg), barely earns the name "busy".

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KellyRN2013 has 7 years experience.

112 Posts; 2,779 Profile Views

I know you want to jump into the specialty that you love, But I would recommend getting into a med-surg unit first. I think that is the best choice anyone can make. I went straight into specialty nursing and I really wish I would have done a med-surg unit. If you are in a specialized unit, you lose your other skills so if you go to a specialized unit make sure it is definitely what you want to do for a long time. It is also good to have the med-surg because lets just say you go into your desired specialty and then a few years later you get burned out. you will have more options and opportunities since you did have the med-surg under your belt. if you just go straight into specialty then it's kind of like having to start all over again if you get burned out because that is the only type of nursing you know. Now if you do want to go straight into specialty nursing ten I would request also doing PRN in a med-surg unit or somewhere like that so you can still have the experience :) either way, You will do just fine. You have to do what is right for you!

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seconddegreebsn has 1 years experience.

311 Posts; 9,757 Profile Views

I was forced to do at least a year of med surg by my first job and I'm pretty bummed about it. I would like to work in surgery and want to go back to school within the next three to five years for my NP, so I'm eager to get acute experience under my belt before I move into the next phase. I wish I could have started in cardiac or PACU or something more interesting - med surg isn't my bag.

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87 Posts; 3,851 Profile Views

I was forced to do at least a year of med surg by my first job and I'm pretty bummed about it. I would like to work in surgery and want to go back to school within the next three to five years for my NP, so I'm eager to get acute experience under my belt before I move into the next phase. I wish I could have started in cardiac or PACU or something more interesting - med surg isn't my bag.

See I feel the same way ... it's no dissing med-surg, some people love it there. Just from my experience in clinical on med-surg floors I remember thinking about how "NOPE, I don't want to work on a floor like this ..." while some of my fellow nursing students would be like "REALLY? I really like it here!" so it just depends. it's always been the specialty units I've loved. I only prefer med-surg over a specialty unit I feel super uncomfortable starting out in - while others, because I'm more interested in them I guess, I'm motivated and willing enough to take it on as a new grad. Let's put it this way: I'll take what I can get as a new grad, but IF given the opportunity to start out in a specialty unit I'm extremely interested in, I'm definitely going to take it.

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