Best Areas of Nursing for New Grads

May 12, 2015

After you graduate from nursing school, you probably plan on looking for a job right away. When you start your job search, you have to decide what area of nursing you want to work in. Some nurses will take anything they can get while others have a strong desire to work in a specific specialty. 

Catching up with the midwives on the ward Depending on what area of nursing you are interested in, you may need additional training or certifications. Other areas of nursing, such as the intensive care unit, are open to new grads, but they may be difficult to get into. Before you decide that you are too inexperienced to apply for a certain nursing job, determine the qualifications and skills required. You may be better suited for the position than you realize.

In addition, it is important to remember to follow your heart and do what you love. If you love ER nursing, then pursuing a job in that field is probably the way to go. But keep in mind, not all facilities hire new grads and you may have to get some experience elsewhere before you transition into the emergency room.  

Every facility has a different policy about placing new grads into certain areas. But if you are trying to figure out what areas of nursing are often open to hiring new nurses, consider some of the following specialties:

Medical/Surgical Nursing

Medical/surgical nurses care for a variety of patients including those who are recovering from illnesses, such as pneumonia, infections and recent surgery. Since the type of conditions cared for on medical/surgical floors is so varied, it allows new nurses to gain a lot of experience with many illnesses and injuries. In the past, many hospitals required new nurses to complete a year of medical/surgical nursing before moving on to other areas. Although things have changed, medical/ surgical nursing can still provide a good foundation for new grads.


Telemetry nurses care for patients who are being treated for cardiac conditions such as chest pain, congestive heart failure and strokes. Nurses may get experience in administering cardiac medications and post heart attack protocols. Nurses working in telemetry may also have the chance to assist in procedures such as cardioversions.

Telemetry nursing can provide good experience before transitioning into working in a cardiac intensive care unit.

Step Down Unit

Some hospitals have step down units where patients are cared for after they leave the intensive care unit but before they are transferred to a floor. Step down units may provide more advanced care and monitoring than floor care. Nurses may get to care for patients who are recovering from serious conditions, which required critical care monitoring.

Smaller Community Hospitals

In addition to working in certain areas of the hospital, new nurses may want to consider working in a small community hospital as opposed to a large medical center. Both types of facilities may have advantages and disadvantages. But smaller hospitals may allow new nurses opportunities to work in areas, such as the emergency room, sooner than larger facilities.