Many new nursing school graduates head out into the world trying to find their “perfect job.” Some graduates know exactly what they’re looking for, and others need to test the waters and try a few things on. They may luck into that “perfect job” right off the bat, or they may have to work up to it, especially if it’s a critical care specialty. One of the benefits of choosing a nursing career is that there are so many different specialties available. Operating room, labor and delivery, neonatal, pediatrics, intensive care, emergency care, doctor’s office, long term care, school nurse, infection control, and too many others for me to list.
I knew from the beginning when I went back to school for my nursing degree that I wanted to be an Emergency Department nurse. What I didn’t know was that in addition to finding the right specialty, it’s also incredibly important to find the right setting. I thought I wanted to be in the fast-paced, overworked, “elite” world of a certified Level 1 Trauma Center Emergency Department. I was overjoyed to nab the position I’d been dreaming about, and it was a letdown to find that it wasn’t everything I’d envisioned. It felt like a failure, or at least like giving up, to consider moving on. I’m glad I did, because I found an ED with the right pace to be a good fit for me.
There are many components to the “Right Job” for any given person in any given industry, things like management style, work environment, flexibility, salary. I changed jobs frequently when I was in Information Technology, working out what kind of computer skills and applications I had an affinity for, and then finding the right work environment for me. When I finally found it, I was there for over 10 years, and only left because I had realized I wanted to be a nurse.
One of my favorite clinical instructors told us that it was important to have other nurse friends who would tell us when the job was turning us into unpleasant people. She said that was when we would know to move on and try something different – a new specialty, or just a new environment. Staying in a job that eats at us is one of the most unhealthy things we can do. Finding the “right” one is worth the effort.