Dear Nursing Grad: It Is Okay To Not Want A Hospital Job

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When I finished nursing school it was sketched in my brain that I had to get a job in a hospital. While in nursing school most of your clinical is done in a hospital and you always hear people saying start in Medical Surgical. You are told to get your one year of experience before you move onto something else. So naturally with clinical, everything you learn and with what other people say it is no surprise that most of us new nurses think we need a hospital job. When I first started nursing school I remember never having the desire to work in a hospital. I actually was interested in nursing homes. Then once I was finishing school I felt I needed to get into a hospital so I would be marketable. So when I graduated I got the hospital job but six months later I quit. Since then people have said to me “Why would you quit a hospital job?”….well…because I was not happy. During my six months and post quitting I would hear “You did not give it enough time” “It takes a year to become comfortable” which is great and all but again I do not want to be unhappy for a year. One year will not change patient ratios or the stress levels of working in acute care. I searched high and low and all I found was people saying “you will lose your skills” “you are not marketable without the experience”. Well let me tell you this…whether you are a nursing student, a new nurse or at any stage in your career. It is okay to not want to work in a hospital! You are marketable and you are worthy. You are just as much as nurse as anyone else. You do not have to be working in an Emergency Room with someone having a heart attack to actually make a change in someones life. Nursing is not all action and saving lives.

Companies can and do hire new grads for community based jobs. Do your research and apply to whatever makes your heart happy. You may not be placing IVs everyday but you will learn new skills. Skills are relative and can be thought but holding someones hand while dying or providing a shoulder to cry on can not. And the other great thing about nursing is the opportunities. You do not need to stay in one position or one field. Your opportunities are endless. You do not need to work in Medical Surgical to get the position of your dreams. The only thing you need to prove that you are a nurse is your completion of nursing school and your licence. If you are not interested in hospital nursing your career path may include:

  • Dialysis
  • Ambulatory surgery
  • Home health
  • Public health
  • Corporate health
  • Correctional nursing
  • Hospice
  • Private physician practices
  • Community health centers
  • Rural clinics
  • School nursing
  • Women’s health
  • Outpatient cancer care
  • Infusion nursing
  • Case management
  • Insurance nursing
  • Psychiatric nursing

Find what makes you happy and this may take some time but just remember that you do not have to work in a hospital. You may even find that non-hospital jobs provide more flexibility and better compensation.

– Rebekah

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