Looks like you’re well on your way to getting some great experience.. Although your practice area is far outside my specialty, I hope you can find some of this advise helpful..
With all due respect, I don’t exactly agree with the advise to spend your time obtaining your CFRN. I’ve been a flight nurse for about six years now and feel that this certification has greater benefit and relevance to those who have been in that transport specialty for some time “before” having taken it. Even the BCEN recommends two years of flight nursing experience before attempting it. Sure, if you’re a good student, you can study and most likely pass the exam. However, all that proves to me is that you can regurgitate information and memorize a catalog of detailed facts and figures. For me, anyway, it doesn’t prove that you will make a successful transport nurse. I have to say, I’ve sat on multiple hiring committees and those coming to me with their CFRN, without flight experience, means very little.
If I were to look at you from the perspective of someone interested in hiring you for NICU transport nursing (please keep in mind, I have no NICU experience) I would probably be interested in the following couple of points..
First, your character. I usually look for candidates that have demonstrated a significant and solid history of commitment to the field of ICU/ER (in this case, NICU). If I see a lot of moving around to different subspecialties in nursing, this can lead me to believe the candidate might not be sure about what they really want to do. Transport nursing/flight nursing is not “just another professional challenge”, it’s a serious commitment and an incredibly demanding field. Some enter it taking the attitude they’ve reached the apex of their careers and can now kick back and “look cool”.. Please consider this.. It will likely take more work than you’ve ever put into any career, both past and future, just to maintain your professional/clinical competence as a transport nurse. Talk to some of these transport nurses and spend some serious time just getting their take on the career (in general). Don’t get caught up right now in the clinical demands when having these discussions. It probably won’t make much sense to you right now. You received some great personal advise from members back in 8/10 from a posting you made. It’s good that you’re using this site as a resource for information. Just be sure to temper it with cautious skepticism.
Your past clinical achievement is probably the second thing I look for. I’ve read some of your past posts and it looks like you’ve come quite far in just a few years since 2010. That’s promising. You’ve either overcome your anxiety or are learning to control it. That’s critically important as a transport nurse. Speaking for adult/pediatric flight nursing, you’ll find yourself in situations which physicians and other health professions colleagues are at a loss for ideas on how to stabilize these critical patients (or simply keep them alive) for transport. It will be YOUR responsibility to manage these very difficult situations with the assistance of your partner only. Very few people can (or even want) to do this job! I don’t blame them either.. Additionally, I’m sure you’re over your phase of passing out over central lines? ; )
Transport nursing will have a profound influence on shaping, not only your professional character, but also who you are as a person after several years.. I’m no longer the person I used to be and I know I’ve seen those around me change also; some for the better, some for the worse.. This probably goes back to the importance of “character”.
By all means, explore specialty certifications (not the CFRN – for reasons previously mentioned).. I looked at that RNC-NIC and it looks like it might be a great credential to have. You’d definitely know much more about its benefits and content than I would since I’m not a NICU RN (I’ve always had a healthy respect for you guys).. I obtained the board critical care certification (CCRN) after about 2 years of ICU nursing at a Level I trauma center and university-affiliated tertiary research hospital. I think what it did was “certify” my understanding of specific critical care principles rather than “verify” or “qualify” my ability to perform to a certain standard in that demanding environment.. Therefore, take it for what it’s worth and keep everything in perspective. The field of critical care transport/flight nursing is impressively full of outstanding clinicians with a long string of credentials behind their names and many years having “paid their dues” but we’re tested over and over again on each call and any respect or authority in this environment must be earned.
Just a side note.. I understand level III NICU’s are the highest level, as opposed to level III trauma centers.. Funny how that works, huh?
Anyway, you’ve chosen a very challenging and rewarding career, as I’m sure you’re realizing so far.. It’s certainly not glamorous but I’ve been very happy with my career choice and have discovered that, no matter where I want to go professionally, whether it be clinical bedside nursing, research in clinical trials, academia/teaching, biotech and pharmaceuticals, or administration/legal/entrepreneurship, the doors are wide open. Speaking for the profession, we need good, insightful, and intelligent people like you too so I do hope you decide to stay in nursing!
Learn all you can and, above all else, enjoy your colleagues, patients, and most of all yourself..