Nine months ago, I was in Aruba with my husband on vacation when I got my first nursing job offer. I will never forget the day because I cried from the excitement. I finally did it! I was finished nursing school and was scheduled to take my NCLEX-RN and had a job on the table pending passing the exam. Thankfully, it all fell into place and I passed and started working as a Medical Surgical nurse on a high acuity floor…. Six months later I quit my job.
So what changed? I knew going into this job that it was going to be hard. I was enrolled in a nurse residency program on top of that. There is research that shows when new graduates are enrolled in these types of programs that the retention rate for the hospital is higher then average…. but it was not for me.
I know I was good at my job and I started to get down my time management and thrive in my skills. I was handling six patients with round the clock antibiotics hanging, heparin drips, fresh tracheotomies, colostomies, insulin drips, wound care, turning every two hours, rapid responses and the list goes on. I absolutely love doing skills and being a nurse…but I was not happy. If you are a new nurse or nursing student you will hear this time and time again. “It takes at least a year or more to feel competent and comfortable in your first job” and “You should do at least a year of MedSurg before branching out into a specialty”. I have to agree with the first statement but the second one…not so much. Yes Medical Surgical will provide you a great foundation to build upon.
So why did I quit? First off, I was not happy. I worked at a great hospital that was a teaching facility and had Level 1 trauma. I worked side by side with some amazing nurses and staff and had support. The problem was I hated everyday not know what I was walking into and it gave me too much stress and anxiety. It did not fit my personality. I did not like the pressure of just getting tasks completed by a certain time and always being behind. I always felt rushed and I do not like to learn under those circumstances. And as much as I love doing skills I just did not enjoy working in the hospital. I had some great patients but the rude and demanding patients seemed to get the best of me. Yes, I know that no matter where you go as a nurse you need to expect the unexpected but I never felt like this was the place for me. To top it off for me was the drive. A 40 minute drive and falling asleep on my way home. That might be nothing for some people but I hated it. It was the farthest I have ever traveled for a job and it was too much. I was an accident waiting to happen. Everything added up and I decided to pursue something new…. So now I will be working with a population I never considered. Medically fragile children and adolescents in a home setting.
That is the great thing about being a nurse is the opportunities. There are so many different populations and jobs available that you can try out a little bit of everything. Six months gave me a great foundation and showed me what I did not want as a nurse so now I can pursue something new. Some people may worry that six months is not enough time for a new grad or it may hinder new job opportunities. I did not have a hard time at all finding a new job and nobody questioned why I was leaving in a short time frame. I honestly believe I now have a great foundation to build upon. To top it off my new job is closer to home, pays better and is less stressful (every job will have some type of stress). If you feel frustrated in your new career hang in there. There is something out there for you and you will find it.
“Our work is going to fill a large part of your life and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” —Steve Jobs