Sometimes, new nurse grads don’t have a choice of where to work. Many new nurses are lucky to get a job at all.
However, there are a few red flags that can alert you to a job that is unsafe for new grads, which will not will further your skills as a nursing professional.
If you have to take what’s available, then you need to work where and when you can.
If you experience these three practices, though, you should get out of there as quickly as possible.
Jobs without extensive orientation
Nursing school is only half the battle toward becoming a nurse. Orientation is the single most important time in your development as a nurse, because it is during this time that you will learn how to be a working nurse, developing habits.
Orientation should, ideally, last about three months. Some new grads are ready to go after two, but you should have the opportunity for three in case you need extra time.
When you don’t have adequate orientation, you are not safe to practice. Only when you are thoroughly taught how to be a nurse can you take care of a patient safely and with minimal supervision.
You may think you learned enough in nursing school to be a safe practitioner, but you are not. Nursing school clinicals and working on a floor are worlds apart.
Jobs without patient contact
New nurses need to come into contact with as many patients as possible within the first year. You learn what patients need in nursing school, but you don’t know what it is like until you’ve been there.
It is one thing to learn ACLS, and quite another to actually be in a code. When you see patients with a wide variety of problems, you learn how to be a nurse by doing.
Jobs in call centers, health insurance jobs, and sometimes home health nursing don’t get you the kind of experience where you can see up to nine patients per week – or more! You need direct contact with patients, help from experienced nurses, and the ability to make mistakes to become a professional nurse.
Jobs with significant short staffing
Short staffing is, unfortunately, and epidemic in the nursing profession. Many facilities will hire new grads because they need someone with an RN degree to be present during every shift.
When you are working short staffed, you don’t have the ability to learn. Some short staffing is inevitable, but when it comes to the point of impeding your learning, then you have to find some other place to learn to be a nurse.
It is difficult to find a facility that doesn’t have short staffing, but keep your resume out there. The sooner you can switch jobs, the better it will be for your career.
Avoiding all of these red flags in a facility can be difficult, but you should strive to seek out opportunities that will have supervised orientation, patient experience, and the time to learn from experienced nurses.
Keep looking until you find one.