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Rookie Wit & Wisdom
Do Fools Rush In?: How I Found the Perfect Nursing Job

We’re all eager to land our first jobs once we finish nursing school. Maybe too eager.

Last year, when I was a student, we were given the option of working at a variety of hospitals during our clinical rotation. Many students stayed in the same hospital to get familiar with the people and the program. Ultimately, they had their hearts set on working there and there alone.

But I bounced around and experienced a variety of work environments. After a period of time, I learned a lot about myself and the environments in which my personality thrives.

At many of the larger hospitals, I felt hurried and was unable to spend time with the patients. Some patients would ask me, “Would you please stay?” but my instructor was hustling me on to the next task. I would tell the patients that I’d try to get back to them, but I never would because I got carried away by other tasks. Most nights I thought, I can’t do this job!

I guess my response shouldn’t have surprised me. After all, in my previous career, I was a social worker; I helped my clients by helping them identify and go after what is important to them. And that takes time. In nursing I wanted to take that same approach—help my patients become invested in their care and how they are going to get better.

It was through exploring a variety of institutions that I was reminded what I longed for and what my personal goals for nursing were. I desired to be part of a health care institution in which I could take the time to give holistic care to my patients. That’s what led me to the rehabilitation clinic where I’m now working. Not only is the pace slower, but its mission is rooted in meeting not only the patients' physical needs but also their emotional and spiritual needs.

Honestly, a year into my first nursing position, I love my job. I look forward to going to work every day—I often tell people it’s something I would do even if I wasn’t paid. But I’m not sure I would have this same perspective if I had rushed into a position, without a little soul-searching and experiencing the variety of work environments that are available to nurses.

What about you: Did you find the right fit right away? Is there such a thing as the “right fit”? Tell us your story.

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4 Responses to “Do Fools Rush In?: How I Found the Perfect Nursing Job”

  1. Alex Says:

    Wow, what great advice. This article really spoke to me. I work on one of the hardest floors in one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country. The nurses take this title of “hardest floor” as a badge of honor and use it as kind of a breaking ground for new nurses to try and see if they can cut it in the profession. I’m really unhappy working in this environment but I stick with it thinking that this is how it is and it’s what I’ve been wanting to do. But many times I forget that there are tons of things you can do with nursing and I don’t have to be that tough-as-nails, insensitive nurse (especially because I’m a male nurse). I really do need to feel out this profession and discover more about my own tastes. Thanks for sharing your story.

  2. william harley Says:

    excellent article…in my area, the competition for new grad jobs is cutthroat, so a lot of us are in the mindset to take anything, and not think twice.
    it’s hard not to feel desperate, but you’re right, life is too short to “suck it up” and work at a horrible facility where you just don’t feel right.

  3. Brittany Says:

    I’ve heard lots of advice from nurses and instructors talking about how new grads should start off in a med-surg setting, and I’ve had other people tell me to go straight to what I want to do. Well, I have an externship in the NICU for the summer now, and I absolutely love it….so much so that I’m pretty sure that this is the field I want to go into when I graduate. I just don’t see the point of spending time in a setting that I don’t enjoy as much!

  4. tracy Says:

    I have bounced around now twice in the same small hospital since graduation: Once I was bounced out of the general medical floor to psych (which I do love) and then out of the hospital completely. Yes, I did go with the first hospital that looked interested in me, and it’s not the world’s greatest hospital. I feel like I never really got through probation. My concern is that I have safety violations as the reason for them asking me to resign. I’m scared I could make more of them, and I am wondering if changing job settings is the way out from under this cloud.

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