It’s been a year and a half since starting my first position as a registered nurse. Previously I recapped my first six months working as a registered nurse, and my first year working in outpatient nursing. This recap post is a bit different because I am quitting! I put in my notice a while ago (more on that later) and my last day in my current position will be in just one week. In this post, I will go back to the question of whether starting in outpatient as a new grad is worth it (following my first job search with RN experience), where I will be working next and why I decided to quit my first registered nurse position.
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Quitting my First Registered Nurse Position
Why I am Quitting My First Registered Nurse Position?
The big question is, why am I quitting? It has nothing to do with not liking my job or role as a clinic nurse. I put in my notice because we are moving! In 8 days we are setting out for Dallas, Texas. This has been something that has been in the works for the last couple of years. Even before graduating from nursing school, we were planning on moving. We chose the Dallas area because my husband Danny’s job is going to transfer him so he won’t need to find a new job. We are also looking forward to more affordable housing and lower crime rates than the area we currently live in. One of the positives of Washington state is that the pay for nurses is really good. Texas doesn’t pay as well. However, it is a lower cost of living overall.
Where Will I Be Working Next?
I already have a job lined up for when we move to Dallas. My wage is a bit lower, but the better benefits make up for the pay. In my current position, nothing was contributed to my retirement by my employer until last month (and even now it was just 2%). In my new position, almost 9% will be matched so the retirement benefit makes up for the decreased take-home pay. I will also be working at the institution that I had been wanting to work at ever since we set our move into place. While I won’t say where I am working for the sake of privacy, I am just really grateful for how things worked out!
As for my specialty, I will still be working as a clinic nurse. I will be working in Family Medicine, which is the same department that I currently work in. Primary Care is a great place for me right now at this point in my life. I’ve mentioned this in past posts, but I know that personally a lot of different nursing jobs would not be sustainable for me due to burnout and anxiety. I like what I do and it doesn’t affect my personal life. I don’t bring work (or any stress) home.
Was it Difficult to Find a Job After Starting in Outpatient?
I would say yes and no. There were some aspects that I ran into that were challenging having started in outpatient. When I began applying for jobs, I applied for a broad variety of positions in both inpatient and outpatient nursing. I did have my eye on a few that I especially wanted (one of them being the offer I accepted). However, I did want to keep an open mind since it was a chance for a new start and to expand my experience.
One Barrier was Lack of Experience
Having no inpatient experience, you are in a limbo where you are not a new grad so you can’t apply for most residencies. At the same time, you don’t have the experience required for many inpatient positions. A lot of the positions I saw required 1- 2 years of inpatient experience minimum.
I did apply for some inpatient positions that didn’t list a minimum requirement. After speaking with recruiters I did have my resume passed to hiring managers. The response I received at magnet hospitals (even though I have my BSN) was that I needed to have inpatient experience for the position. However, at the non-magnet hospitals, I had better luck by applying to a residency that didn’t require you to be a new grad.
There are also fellowships out there that I saw that required no inpatient experience and had the option for many different specialties including med-surg. Most of the residencies and fellowships operate by cohort and have openings only a few times a year.
That being said, it goes both ways for inpatient and outpatient nursing experience. I don’t think I would have been hired into my new position as a new grad. It did require 2 years of experience working in a primary care or clinic setting. I think that I was more competitive in applying to clinic positions since I already have that experience behind me. If I was coming from an acute care setting, it would still be a valuable experience. It is just a much different role.
Do I Regret Going into Outpatient Nursing?
I have always been an advocate for going into non-bedside nursing jobs as a new grad. Even after going back to job searching, that didn’t change. I was extremely burnt out after nursing school and had no desire to go into inpatient nursing at the time. Now I am in a place where I could devote the time and energy to inpatient nursing. However, now it is much harder to get into. I still don’t regret going into outpatient nursing since that is what I wanted to do.
I do see the value of having acute care experience. In the long run, it would have been better financially and schedule-wise. One day I want to have kids and a PRN position would work well with the schedule that I would prefer to have. Since PRN in the clinic isn’t something you come by much, I would likely just cut down to part-time if that was ever an option. Another con is that clinic nursing pays less most of the time (compared to inpatient). There is also not as much opportunity for overtime or picking up shifts.
My Advice for New Grads
My advice for new grads is if you have any desire at all to work in an acute care setting, do it right out of school. It’s easier to get hired to a residency position and put in your time. The alternative of starting a non-bedside nursing job and then trying to get into an acute care setting is more difficult. There are fewer jobs available if you are not a new grad and have no inpatient experience versus being a new grad. That being said, it’s not impossible. It does depend a lot on the hospital. If I were to stay in the area I currently live in, I know I could just go to the unit where I had my preceptorship or the hospital where I completed most of my clinicals. Moving to a completely new state brings different challenges when finding a job.
What’s New From Here?
Although I am not getting “new” experience in terms of my role, I am comfortable where I am heading. I am excited to start my new job and move to a new area. Like my previous nursing recaps, I still love working in outpatient nursing and think there is a great work-life balance. Plus, no weekends, nights, or holidays!
That’s it for my recap and update for nursing. As always if you have any questions about nursing, nursing school, or outpatient nursing, feel free to message me! I love getting DMs and emails from readers! 🙂 Thank you so much for following along on my nursing journey! If you would like to be alerted of future posts, you can follow my Instagram here, or like my Facebook page here.