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Can you help me decide which job to take: an LSN position where I work now or an admission clinician/home visit RN job with a healthcare system?

Thursday February 13, 2014
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Dear Donna,

I work at a charter school as a licensed health care assistant and have a chance of becoming an LSN. I am enrolled in an RN-BSN program this fall, where I will obtain a certificate in public health. I just interviewed for a job as an admission clinician and home visit nurse. I've been trying to weigh the pros and cons of the LSN position versus the job for which I just interviewed and hope you can provide
some insight.

Working as an LSN when I graduate would be nice as I am guaranteed no weekend or holiday work, and I would have part of the summer off. The downside is the pay. I am bored at my job and feel that I am not being challenged, but the prospect of being an LSN is intriguing. I also miss using my nursing and acute care skills.

The home visit nurse position has much to offer. The pay is double or more what I earn now, I will get to use my nursing skills, travel and have more and better future opportunities in a huge healthcare system while keeping up with my clinical skills. The cons are more stress, more hours on the job, no summers off, having to work every fourth weekend and two holidays and being on-call on occasion.

Weighing the Pros and Cons

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Weighing the Pros and Cons

By LSN I assume you mean licensed school nurse, a designation used in some but not all states. With that in mind, there are no wrong decisions, only different lessons to learn and different experiences. Whatever you do decide, you do not have to make a long-term commitment to it as no job has to be forever. Without knowing your personal/family circumstances, as a new nurse, it is generally best to take the job where you will be able to learn the most and grow as a licensed professional. Building a strong base in practice and knowledge is a good way to build confidence
and competence.

I would suggest that you conduct an informational interview with an LSN and a home care nurse or two. Learn how to make the most of an informational interview by reviewing “The scoop on informational interviewing” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/Interviewing). If possible, shadow one or both to get a clearer idea of what their day-to-day job entails. That is more important than looking at it from the outside and evaluating each based primarily on the benefits, salary and work schedule. It's also important to consider what type of new nurse orientation and ongoing support you will receive in either position. In my book, "Your First Year as a Nurse, 2nd edition" I provide further strategies for choosing your first job.

When all is said and done, you have to go with your gut and follow your heart. The rest will work itself out. All the answers you seek are within you if you only take the time to listen. We often seek validation from outside sources for decisions rather than trusting our own instincts. To help you make your decision, also read “To act or not — It's your decision.” (www.Nurse.com/Cardillo/To-Act-or-Not).

Best wishes,
Donna


Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nurse.com’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/Asktheexperts/Deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://www. Nurse.com/Events.