Which is the best job offer for New Grad?

Nurses New Nurse Nursing Q/A

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Specializes in ER.
Which is the best job offer for New Grad?

I am a new grad needing some guidance regarding making a job decision. I'm very torn and afraid of making a bad decision.

Here is my background story: I graduated in May of this year (2022) with my RN. I live in a small state and town with only 2 hospitals + a long term care hospital. My new grad experience has been horrible and so depressing so far. 

I thought I wanted to be an  ER nurse and took an ER job on June 20 that paid less than the three other hospitals in my city. This hospital was taking new grads for ER at the time. ICU was my first choice for new grad but no hospitals had openings and one didn't take new grads. The training I received as a new grad in ER was horrible and they didn't even have a preceptor for me every day. It was a very hostile environment I was in and no one wanted to train me. I felt so lost and was not learning anything. My manager was of no help and I asked for a department transfer at end of July. They were having me do department tours for medical/surgical because it was the only option. This hospital didn't hire new grads for ICU. My hospital was also starting to shut down departments due to lack of staffing and I could only work medical surgical. Around this time, I found out my job under paid me by $5 per hour on every paycheck I had.  I decided to terminate my position because of how unhappy I was and because there were no opportunities at my hospital.  

I interviewed at 2 different hospitals. One is another main hospital and the other is a small LTC hospital for critical patients. 

The main hospital offered me medical/surgical (I really wanted ICU) for $38.50 if I work every weekend night shift for 3 year contract of $20,000 sign on bonus. They also required a new grad residency program each month for a year. If I leave before the three year mark, I will have to pay $20,000 plus interest. 

The LTC hospital offered me $29. Night shift pays $2-4 more, plus $10,000 sign on bonus that you don't have to pay back. Money is mine to keep even if I don't make it to the one year mark. They also don't have a new grad program and the hospital is smaller with 5 patients per nurse. 

The truth is I don't want to be locked into a contract because I want to move in September 2023 and nor do I want a residency program because I feel it will be too much on top of going to school to finish my BSN. They pay is so much more and tempting but I don't know if I will be happy knowing that I'm stuck there for a long time. The LTC hospital has less pay but they can't guarantee me nights but nothing is contracted there. It's a critical care hospital. My family thinks I should take the highest paying job and commit for three years. 

Would I be making a huge mistake taking a 3 year contract for more pay than taking a non contracted job for less pay (not having to work every weekend) ?

6 Answers

Specializes in Justice ⚖️ Nursing.

I would not take that 3 year "deal" for the sign on bonus. It's a trap! I would possibly look into what various staffing agencies have or travel opportunities. Teaching hospitals usually hire new grads in ICUs. 

Don't forget you are in demand and you can negotiate your terms....like no 3.yr contract....maybe ask for a lil less pay or a 1 year contract with less of a sign on bonus....however it works for you...you can make it work. If you get a little experience and want to transfer from med surg to ICU, that would be a shame that you would have to pay it back W/ INTEREST?!?  Most ppl say the larger the sign on bonus the faster you should run away. Also keep in mind that most places offer shift differential for nights and even stipend pay for certain shifts....that can equal out to be more than what they are offering you hourly....for example, if you don't need medical benefits do they pay you more per hr, etc. Lots to think about, but I clearly read that you don't want to be locked into a long contract. Congrats and best wishes!!

Specializes in Psych (25 years), Medical (15 years).

We often have difficulty, as the idiom goes, seeing the forest for the trees.

As a new grad, we can be in the middle of the forest and feel lost because there is so much stuff with which to deal. However, in the broad scheme of things, EVERYTHING is a point of reference and/or a steppingstone.

Experience, experience, experience will reinforce that which we know and can build upon. If we do not wish to commit to something, no matter how lucrative it may seem, because it will put a wrench in our later plans, we need to take the next best option.

People often will give free advice because they don't have to deal with the ramifications of the situation. Hell, I could give you advice, Ana, sit back and continue to enjoy my retirement, and never have to think of you again.

It's you who has to make the decision for yourself. My advice to you is to take a sheet of paper, make two columns for each position, and brainstorm the positives and negatives of each. This will make your thoughts tangible, is cathartic, and is good for the problem-solving process.

The best to you.


Ana Viktoriya said:

The main hospital offered me medical/surgical (that's all the have left but I really wanted ICU) for $38.50 if I work every weekend night shift for 3 year contract of $20,000 sign on bonus. They also required a new grad residency program each month for a year. If I leave before the three year Mark, I will have to pay $20,000 plus interest.

Agree with the above, you do have to make your own decision.

I can't resist giving my meager opinion, which is that ^ this malarkey reeks like maggot-infested rotting flesh and is a straight up NO. That is them telling you right up front they think you're stupid and desperate before even meeting you. I'd consider just stashing the 20K and giving it back to them when you leave, but then there's the weekend nights and what is this "plus interest" bit?! What in the world would you possibly be paying interest for?

I'm sure it's my stage of life but I have zero tolerance for that kind of thing any more and wish all of those who pull this crap with nurses would fall off the face of the earth while simultaneously pounding sand and sucking lemons.

Do whatever it takes to enlarge your search area.

Specializes in CMSRN, hospice.

I regret the three year sign-on bonus I took every day. If you take that contract, you are already going to get far less than that $20,000 due to taxes. The interest thing is fishy as hell. And *every* weekend? You wouldn't even get two off per year or something? Is that an acceptable situation for you?

Just read your most recent response. Glad you will be looking into other options! Good luck in the search!

Specializes in CRNA, Finally retired.

If I HAD to take one of these jobs, for me, it would be the LTC.  They sound like they aren't trying to destroy you in advance:)  You said that some of these patients were critical (?).  Are you talking about long term vents or what?  You will learn a LOT about patient care that can be transferred to any ICU in the future.  As a new grad (again, just for me) I would prefer to start on snow over starting out on ice.  It just makes your life so much easier.  Do NOT let your family influence you.  They can never walk in your shoes.  I've worked in big city hospitals and everything in between, but I had the most fun in a little toy hospital and increased my knowledge base immensely there because we had to make more decisions for ourselves.  I credit it with giving me the ability to work right out of CRNA training without any supervision almost immediately.

Specializes in ER.

Thank you. I want to make it clear that I was not asking for anyone to help me make a decision. I just wanted to get people's experiences with sign on bonuses and contracts. I'm a new grad and can easily fall into traps. I decided to work at the other place. I found out that working 4 12 hours twice a month equals the same weekly pay the offer hospital gave me. I just realized that I had already made my decision. I'm not taking a stupid contract. I don't trust that hospital. 

Thank you for your opinion! ?

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