What area do you recommend new nurses start in?

Nurses Career Support



I have been accepted to an ADN program beginning next month. I have no nursing-type experience in any area, but I do already have some areas in mind that I think I would absolutely love to work in. L&D is at the top of my list,but I also think I'd really enjoy working NICU, in some area of geriatrics, or perhaps Hospice. I know that having had no exposure to any field of nursing, I may end up changing my mind...maybe even a few times! :) My mom has been an RN for about 25 years and upon discussing this with her, she says she strongly suggests starting out in a med-surg environment to get exposure and experience with a little bit of everything before going for a more specialized area. Do other experienced nurses agree with this advice or do you think if the opportunity presents itself, new nurses should go immediately to a more specialized area that they are interested in? I'm very aware that there may not be an abundance of positions to pick and choose from anyway, but IF a new nurse had the opportunity to go immediately into a field of real interest to them, should they do it or start out in a more general/broad field of nursing?

Specializes in Medical Oncology, Alzheimer/dementia.

I wanted to get into a med surg unit, and when I applied to a children's hospital they offered I me a job in respiratory with med surg overflow. Even though it wasn't for the unit I applied to, it did happen to be the unit I had my 3rd semester clinical on. I told them in the interview that I had my clinical there, I'm sure they asked around about me and perhaps I made an impression on the staff of the respiratory floor.

Your mom gave you good advice. I've heard the same from other nurses and my instructors. Consider what will make you happy and want to go to work each day? What will best prepare you to keep steady employment? If the opportunity comes along for you to go into a specialized area of interest, I'd say definitely go for it. The chance may never come along again.

Congrats on being accepted to the ADN program!!

I'm still in school. My mom who is a nurse has given the same advice. To start off in Med surg. She thinks its a great foundation and will keep me sharp.

Specializes in Critical Care, Education.

The BEST place is the unit that has sufficient resources and an appropriate 'teaching' environment to support a new grad's transition to independent practice. Although it is the stereotypical starting place, some chaotic MedSurg units are completely unsuitable & there are ICU's that may be wonderful places for a new grad.

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I strongly agree with HouTx. The quality of the unit and their ability to support a new grad are crucial factors to consider in your decision. Some med/surg units are great for new grads -- others are horrible as they are staffed by the newest, least experienced nurses, have very high staff turnover, the most variety of patients, the highest patient loads per nurse, etc.

Another crucial factor to consider is your local job market. Can a new ADN grad even get a job in L&D, NICU, or ICU in your town? In my town, that's not a realistic goal as my local hospitals don't hire a lot of new grads into those areas -- and the new grads they hire mostly have BSN's and have done senior-year preceptorships in those units.

So ... investigate the local job market and each particular unit before you decide. There are no "general rules" that apply to all places and circumstances.

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