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Is it completely necessary to enter bedside nursing right after nursing school? I’m starting a residency soon and I’m just dreading it and the thought is making me so anxious.

June 20th, 2022

Hi New Grad and welcome to Nursing !

In all honesty, there isn’t a straight path to success as a nurse. One of the most important things is gaining experience and being flexible/open to learning new things. It’s wonderful that you’re starting a new residency soon. I hope you join some nursing support groups and look for networking opportunities (they’re very valuable).

Wishing you all the best on your journey!

June 21st, 2022

I was told to get 2 years of med-surg first and then specialize but I know many people who have gone right into something they love doing. Do know that orientation will happen first and gradually your patient load and independence with cares will increase as your knowledge and prioritizing increases/improves. If your residency includes trying out several services, it may help you find what you prefer to do so it doesn't have to end up being a job you hate. My 1st 2 years were Med-Surg-Ortho-Rheumatology. I learned so much and got my organizational skills then moved on to what I thought was my dream job, Neonatal ICU. I found I liked teaching so I moved to OB. The one good thing is flexibility to move around and the opportunity to continue education with financial assistance to become a NP or Professor if desired. Do not let yourself get trapped doing a job you hate to wake up for. There are many opportunities out there and at this point in time, nurses are needed everywhere. Best wishes in your career!

July 7th, 2022

I am a Med Surg Nurse Manager. What I find is that nurses who start in Med Surg and then move on do really well bc they have learned time management skills and excellent prioritization of care. I’ve had staff start in a Primary Care or OR setting and they are immediately pigeon holed into those sorts of positions.

July 6th, 2022

I would say nope. Try to land a position for the area that you want. I say this because you will still learn time management and other nursing skills in your desired specialty. If you enter bedside (Med-Surg) and you end up hating it, it could deter you from nursing all together. This almost happened to me. I started off in Med-Surg and hated it. I stayed 2 months and dreaded going to work. I hated it so much that I was going to leave the profession altogether because I thought that all nursing was like Med Surg. With only those 2 months under my belt, I transferred to the OR and fell in love. I’ve found that I like things to be structured and in order. I’ve since worked in Corrections Pysch (which isn’t bad), public health, home health, management, covid clinics, and plasma center. Now I’m reviewing for my PMHNP boards. 😎. The world is your oyster. Try a specialty and if you don’t like it then try something else.

January 14th, 2023

I didn’t go into nursing to be a bedside nurse. After my measure clinical and the teacher torturing me that even made it more clearer I hated it. But I did find I loved the OR. Oh boy, every chance I could escape into the OR, I was there.
While I was studying for my boards I received a call for a job. Not sure how they got my info. It was for an ophthalmology office. I’m like I don’t want to do eyes. Eyes are boring. The nurse manager said do what do you want to do. I said I loved the OR. I want to be there. She said we gave our own surgery center. You would be in the office seeing pts, working in the surgery center, weekends off, nights off, holidays off, etc. I thought ok. I’ll do that for two years and get the experience and move on. I stayed 15 years and also became the only pediatric ophthalmic nurse specialist in the county. Then I moved. I was asked to be a DON of a surgery center, then a second one, and now I’m at another location. I never wanted to do eyes but I have now been an eye nurse for 25 years. Lol. I used to say I wasn’t a real nurse like the bedside nurses. It takes nurses of all kinds and departments to care for everyone.

June 20th, 2022

I don’t think taking any position you’re dreading is the way to go. There’s not one strict path to follow.

July 7th, 2022

Is it “necessary”…or is it THE best way to get your first-hand experience that will carry throughout your career? I saw med-surge as a necessary right of passage, and I learned more in that year that I could have ever possibly imagined. I wholeheartedly believe I’m a better nurse for it. But…you do not have to choose this. That’s the wonderful joy of nursing - it’s vast. You can choose as you see fit. Good luck on your journey!!!

July 29th, 2022

I started straight away in Behavioral Health at age 42. I work as a Consultant now and do contract work, mostly as Director of Nursing, Quality and Compliance Officer. I followed my passion and became an expert in psychiatric nursing. If you already work in BH, follow your passion. If you are worried about hanging onto your MS skills. you could pick up shifts in a SNF or prn shifts after your 1st six months. I was advised to work in MS first, but didn't. I have never looked back!

July 7th, 2022

Congratulations on your success. I Obtained my RN at 40y/o. Ive been a nurse for 22 years. I have a passion for giving the most excellent care.
In response to your expression of anxiety, I believe that is a normal response to new situations. In this case you are responsible for peoples lives so fear of the unknown is completely appropriate. I would worry more if you had no fears. Experience will bring confidence. That is what the residency is about. You get paid to have more education. Be thankful.

You will gradually build your experience and therefore self confidence. Always self evaluate. You NEVER know it all. Read doctors notes to build your medical vocabulary.

Even after 20+ years of nursing i am still learning. I would be bored if that wasn’t the case. My best advice would be to get a job at a teaching hospital. Best to you!

January 2nd, 2023

PS also it's best to do the acute care while it's still fresh in your head if you didn't get clinical hours at acute care through your school if you didn't get clinical acute care hours I understand it will make you nervous and I would be nervous too but still they're going to be helpful and you're not going to be by yourself you're always going to have a preceptor nurse who by the way is supposed to be getting paid like five or six or seven dollars an hour more which is the average an hour to work with you so don't think that you're putting somebody out they're actually getting a bonus to help you or to be your your guide and they have hopefully some kind of a checklist or something that they're they have to make sure their address to make sure that they know how to preceptor a new nurse so that you're both safe and you'll be fine it won't just be you alone

July 7th, 2022

Apologies if I missed it…do you mean all bedside nursing or Med-Surg nursing specifically? First, consider your nursing goals and how the choices you make now will impact those goals. If you want to do direct patient care in an acute setting, then bedside nursing is necessary…but definitely isn’t limited to Med-Surg. Secondly, are you avoiding bedside bc of your anxiety? My anxiety was at a level 600 as a new nurse lol. Same for nearly all nurses I know. But please don’t let that stop you IF caring for patients is something you want to do. Once you actually start the residency, that anxiety is likely to decrease. Often the anticipation is far worse than the actual experience. Either way, try not to let fear dictate your choices and best of luck whatever you choose😊!

January 1st, 2023

Hi! While I will say it is important to have that base knowledge that, really only Med Surg can give…it’s not necessary. As a new grad I worked at a surgery center for a few months, then I worked Med Surg trying to give myself that knowledge. I was attacked and injured by a patient three months in. I still struggle with this injury. After that I did 3 years of case management, much harder than most people think. From there I moved into director of nursing for an outpatient surgery center and couldn’t be happie-and I get calls for leadership roles at all levels of care all the time! So no, med Surg as a new grad isn’t necessary, but it does help you for sure.

November 7th, 2022

I would follow your heart and passion and keep pushing forward not listening to what anyone tells you. You know yourself better then anyone on this app can tell you. Some people have higher levels of critical thinking and some people need that extra time on a med surg floor etc. it also depends on your background. I came from an EMT background for over 4 years and I developed a true passion for the ICU during my clinical round. Many told me I would never get into an ICU job out of nursing school! I did! I will be starting my job as an Neuro ICU nurse as the nurse manager who did my interview fell in love with me and my passion and knowledge. Think about what you need, think about anything extra you might want to study and research on the side before getting into any specialty you want! Go for your dreams!

September 10th, 2022

No, it is not. While many bedside nurses have a vast knowledge and application of critical care and expertise in nursing talents, the expectations, goals, and professional capacity of nurses have expanded in many ways. There is no rule book! You might go into a position and go from expert to novice. Many fields that practice clinical care do not have "bedside" experience. Love what you do and do what you love.

May 25th, 2023

You could try School Nursing. I worked in a hospital first but requirements vary. I had to get a School Nurse credential and I got my MS eventually while I worked. Its nice to be out in a community.

May 2nd, 2023

It's ok to stumble around. You will find your footing and YES! You need it. It makes all the difference. You need bedside nursing so you can build a foundation between book smarts and bedside smarts. Your patients will appreciate the work you put into your career.

Find a mentor and good luck.


April 20th, 2023

I did what every was saying I should, and went into MedSurg out of school. Transferred to Cardiac Stepdown post cardiac surgery for many years. Burnout is real. A friend got me into outpatient surgery as circulator nurse in OR and I never looked back. She called me a Real Nurse (RN) LOL. She had gone into the OR right after school, never bedside. Wish I had! One patient at a time!

April 17th, 2023

I went straight to infusion nursing and have built a great career. I have been doing git for 12 years and don't regret a minute. I do assessments on patients every day, just different than a typical med/surg assessment. You don't have to go straight to a hospital for "bedside" care. There are so many more options. Look at all of your options and chose what you feel is the best fit for you.

January 2nd, 2023

How I felt like when I was doing mine too and I am intuitively very like I always know automatically what the diagnosis might be or what stuff is that I've never studied or even thought about before like it's kind of like magical to me but with my self-esteem always being used to being bullied and I'm really tall and so I get everybody looks at me all day everyday where I go I can't hide from anything and so it's easier to get bullied and then you feel nervous and then people think cuz you're nervous and maybe you don't know what you're doing or you're stupid or they can so they like to clown you and at school that's what my teacher I had a teacher that was doing that she was saying things to me in front of my patients as a student nurse like why would you why would you do that I wouldn't want you to be my mom's nurse like just really humiliating me because I was always the one that had the answers and I was always pointing things out or like but you know yeah but what if this or that or also I see that we could do that another way or a smarter way to say to do something or you know just always questioning everything and they she hated that so she would call me out so I thought when I went to work it would be the same thing but the first day my charger she goes she says she's could see that I was nervous and she told me to go do something that I had never done like I never got to do an NG tube or I only did one on the dummy I never did on a real patient and I was like oh s*** that's the one thing I really didn't get to do and she goes that did you do it on the dummy and she goes explain the steps and I explained this stuff because you know what you're doing you need a babysitter go in there and just do it if you don't feel like you can you know if you don't feel comfortable come back and get me and I'll come and help you but otherwise you're smart and you're the top of your class and I know you know what you're doing you're a real nurse now go ahead and do it nobody's going to follow you around and yell at you and I was like oh my God thank God she was so like welcoming of questions and I really didn't have any after that I just I feel really comfortable and everything was fresh in my head and it all just clicked like you just automatically know what you're doing because you don't have to worry about the nurse you have to work with and that your teacher is watching and you're going to get graded and then you have to get tested and all that other garbage that you don't need plus just the stigma of being the student nurse student haha I don't want the students poking me they probably don't know what they're doing hahaha that's just now your professional nurse and it's a whole different role you just have to allow yourself to feel yes I am a real nurse I graduated I passed the boards and now I am actually certified by the state to do what I'm going to do right now and I'm good

July 7th, 2022


July 7th, 2022


February 22nd, 2023

I started directly in the Cath lab. I did have EMS experience prior to Nursing, but same for me, never looked back.