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Should I stay in my first nursing job, working in an ambulatory care setting for people with dementia and Alzheimer’s?


Dear Donna,

I am a new ADN graduate nurse in the process of completing my BSN.It seems impossible to get a job as an ADN. After reading some of the previously answered questions, I’ve learned I should have been networking in the way you’ve described. I didn’t know. I have a job offer (first and only) to work in a physician office of a major hospital with a focus on dementia and Alzheimer’s. I will have the chance to work closely with the doctors and NPs, as they want me to become a specialist. It’s Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. I have always been interested in psych but was taught to never start in anything other than floor/med/surg nursing. At this point any experience is better than none, but would I be stupid to stay in this position as a new nurse?

Needs a Job

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Needs a Job,

The advice that new nurses must start in the hospital, particularly in med-surg, was never right for all nurses. It is even less relevant today as jobs shift out of the hospital and into the ambulatory care setting.

When I got out of school many years ago I heard the same advice. I had no interest in med-surg nursing. I, too, was interested in psych and took a job as a psych nurse in a county hospital right out of school. Everyone said to me, “You can’t work in psych right out of school; you’ll forget your skills.” I don’t think I have lost any skills. But I was drawn to it, there was an opportunity and I took it. Months later I transitioned into a hospital ED. Boy, did the psych experience come in handy!

The bottom line is you have to follow your heart as well as the opportunities in nursing. Staying unemployed will play havoc with your psyche, your confidence and your resume. It also is important to find a position where you will have a chance to learn and grow as a new nurse whether in an ambulatory care setting, psychiatric setting or elsewhere. Dementia and Alzheimer’s nursing is a growing specialty.

It’s great you’re pursuing your BSN. Be sure to also join the American Nurses Association ( as well and get active. Please read “Nursing — a new paradigm” ( to better understand the healthcare and nursing landscape. This will help you make career decisions based on what’s happening now and in the future, rather than on an old model.

Best wishes,

By | 2021-05-28T17:21:20-04:00 March 9th, 2015|Categories: Nursing Careers and Jobs|0 Comments

About the Author:

Donna Cardillo
Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, CSP, is president of Known as The Inspiration Nurse, she is a keynote speaker, retreat and seminar leader, and author of "Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional" and "The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career." She brings more than 25 years of clinical, management and business experience to her role as career guru.

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