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Which is worse? Having non clinical RN experience or no experience at all

Nurses   (1,041 Views 18 Comments)
by tambat tambat (Member)

765 Visitors; 15 Posts

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I am applying to jobs in California as a new graduate rn bsn.  I have an interview for a position  as an assessment and referral clinician at a local psych hospital. From what a friend who worked there stated, Basically you assess patients via phone or through walk-ins and judge if they should be admitted into the hospital or not.  There are little to no clinical skills provided except vitals.  The pay is $32.60/hour as a nurse in Cali which is on the lower spectrum. Should I take the job just so i can say I have some work experience or should I keep looking?  Is having non-clinical RN experience better or worse than having no experience at all? Also is starting low bad long term, or it doesn't really matter?

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KrysyRN has 28 years experience.

4,009 Visitors; 236 Posts

Definitely take it. You are assessing and triaging. Maybe even getting a complete health history in there.  Very important nursing skills.

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in Psych, Corrections, Med-Surg, Ambulatory.

10 Followers; 32,882 Visitors; 3,144 Posts

Do they not want some experience for this position?  My first thought is that you are not qualified for this job either. 

How do you determine if someone needs hospitalization if you have no psych experience?  Will you be pressured to not hospitalize if there is no insurance and to encourage hospitalization if there is?  How will you advocate for your patients if you have no experience with "the system"?

What about involuntary hospitalization?  Is that even a factor in this job?  If so, do you know the applicable laws?  What if someone urgently needs to be hospitalized and refuses?  Will you even be able to ascertain if that is the case?

If they're happy with a warm body, what does that tell you?  This does not sound like a good job for someone with zero experience.

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Kallie3006 has 7 years experience as a ADN and specializes in Surgical, Home Infusions, HVU, PCU, Neuro.

1 Follower; 5,263 Visitors; 380 Posts

55 minutes ago, TriciaJ said:

Do they not want some experience for this position?  My first thought is that you are not qualified for this job either. 

How do you determine if someone needs hospitalization if you have no psych experience?  Will you be pressured to not hospitalize if there is no insurance and to encourage hospitalization if there is?  How will you advocate for your patients if you have no experience with "the system"?

What about involuntary hospitalization?  Is that even a factor in this job?  If so, do you know the applicable laws?  What if someone urgently needs to be hospitalized and refuses?  Will you even be able to ascertain if that is the case?

If they're happy with a warm body, what does that tell you?  This does not sound like a good job for someone with zero experience.

This was my thought as well, triaging is a skill that is developed over time and experience, IMO

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K+MgSO4 has 12 years experience as a BSN and specializes in Surgical, quality,management.

1 Follower; 21,589 Visitors; 1,526 Posts

3 hours ago, Kallie3006 said:

This was my thought as well, triaging is a skill that is developed over time and experience, IMO

Agreed 

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Jedrnurse has 25 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in school nurse.

11,438 Visitors; 1,207 Posts

4 hours ago, Kallie3006 said:

This was my thought as well, triaging is a skill that is developed over time and experience, IMO

Ditto x 10.

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not.done.yet has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

4 Followers; 43,791 Visitors; 5,400 Posts

Yup. The ability to accurately triage is an advanced skill and usually new grads aren't placed in those positions. You have a LOT of liability for a position like this one. I would vote to keep looking.

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kp2016 has 20 years experience.

3,108 Visitors; 207 Posts

As an experienced nurse it is my opinion that telephone triage involves considerable assessment skill. If the job market is tight in your area I would  take this job to get your foot in the door, immediately negotiate for a higher pay, most places will give you at least a small amount more during the hiring phase if you ask confidently. After 12 months you can use this job to move to something else. 

It’s worth noting your resume and interview are your opportunity to sell yourself. A year of daily nursing assessment and triage of patients is certainly a a skill worth mentioning. Good luck!

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myoglobin has 11 years experience as a ASN, BSN and specializes in ICU, trauma, neuro.

2,967 Visitors; 274 Posts

I would disagree with those telling you to not take the job.while agreeing that it isn’t ideal. However in a tight new grad job market I would take any reasonable job offer and work hard to maximize the experience. Then you can potentially transfer to something that will build your skill base if that is your desire.

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NightNerd has 5 years experience as a ASN, BSN, RN.

15,677 Visitors; 813 Posts

I would be wary of taking this as a first job, but sometimes we have to rule with what the job gods offer us. I have some questions before forming a definite opinion.

First, how long have you been looking? If it's been a month, maybe give it a bit more time; if it's been something ridiculous like eight months, I completely understand the motivation to get started working once you finally get an interview.

Second, if/when you interview, find out who your resources will be and how you will be trained. Is there another nurse you'll be working with to whom you can ask any questions, or will it be all you? If you're not feeling quite ready at the end of your orientation, can it be extended by a week or two? Saved myself a lot of trouble by asking that question as a new grad; it set off all the right alarms in my head when a recruiter told me, "We really need to have you up and running in three to four weeks max."

Ultimately, anywhere you work as a new grad will require you to learn a lot of new skills. My advice would be to make sure you work somewhere that will support your efforts to learn and won't leave you to fend for yourself. If this position involves extensive training and there will be other nurses around for you to learn from, it might be okay, if not ideal, until you find something more directly clinical. If it doesn't offer that, it probably will not feel like a good fit. Overall, it's worth it to interview, but ask a lot of questions and don't accept an offer unless you're confident they will help you learn.

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klone has 13 years experience as a MSN, RN and specializes in Women's Health/OB Leadership.

3 Followers; 113,862 Visitors; 13,161 Posts

So, would you be considered a QMHP?

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FolksBtrippin is a BSN, RN and specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

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On 6/5/2019 at 12:00 AM, tambat said:

I am applying to jobs in California as a new graduate rn bsn.  I have an interview for a position  as an assessment and referral clinician at a local psych hospital. From what a friend who worked there stated, Basically you assess patients via phone or through walk-ins and judge if they should be admitted into the hospital or not.  There are little to no clinical skills provided except vitals.  The pay is $32.60/hour as a nurse in Cali which is on the lower spectrum. Should I take the job just so i can say I have some work experience or should I keep looking?  Is having non-clinical RN experience better or worse than having no experience at all? Also is starting low bad long term, or it doesn't really matter?

This is a job that requires a lot of assessment skills. It's very clinical. You may not know what that word means at this point. 

As a new grad, you can do it if you have a lot of support . You will need a long orientation with a preceptor. 

Admissions is interesting and fun. You need to critically appraise the info you get. Is this patient really medically stable? Does Megan's law apply? Can the unit handle the acuity at this time?  Do you have enough staff? Will the patient need a one to one? If you do it well, everything runs smoothly on the unit. If nor, there's hell to pay. 

If you were wanting to hang IVs and such,  don't take the job. 

If you're interested, ask about the orientation. If it's under 10 weeks, they just want a warm body or are looking to increase census or any number of disastrous things. 

 

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