I am a new graduate RN, and I am looking for a permanent job. I have been offered a position at a long-term facility, but, I don’t really want to go into long-term care. I am more interested in school nursing, public health, forensic nursing or even legal nursing. Should I take this job to get started? Other nurses have told me long-term care is tricky and it’s hard to get a job somewhere else once you’re in long-term care.
New Nurse Wondering About Long-term Care Job,
Dear New Nurse Wondering About Long-term Care Job,
The entire nursing career landscape is changing as healthcare and the role of the nurse evolves. While it was once standard for almost all nurses to start out working in hospitals, that is no longer the case. As we shift from an illness/acute care model to an ambulatory/wellness model, it is not uncommon for new nurses to go directly into public health, school nursing and other nonhospital specialties. Read “New nurse, new job strategies”.
Some experienced nurses will tell you that you must start in a hospital or that you shouldn’t work in long-term care but it is outdated advice based on the old model of nursing. If community/public health nursing is where your interest lies, there is no reason not to pursue it now.
I suggest that you start contacting public health nurses and school nurses in your area and conducting informational interviews with them. The article “The scoop on informational interviewing” explains what it is and how to approach these individuals. Also seek volunteer work as a public health nurse while you continue to look for paid employment. Volunteering is a great way to gain some recent relevant experience, expand your professional network and get a foot in the door somewhere. Volunteering often turns into paid employment.
If you do decide to consider the long-term care position while you continue to look for something more suitable, try to find a facility that is affiliated with a larger healthcare system or part of a national long-term care company. Be sure they offer orientation and preceptorship for new nurses and have educational resources you can rely on if you need help with something. Otherwise you may find yourself in a situation where you are in over your head with no life preserver in sight.
Read “Nursing-a new paradigm” for a big picture view of healthcare and the nursing job market.