I am currently an RPN/LPN and am in my 3rd year BScN program.
I am lost on picking my preceptorship placement. This is the placement that will make you or break you.
I've always wanted to be an L & D nurse or an NICU nurse. I have started early and have been taking courses (that are very expensive) like neonatal resuscitation and fetal heart monitoring to help me get my placement.
I am currently on a medicine floor and have realized that I didn't know as much as I thought I knew as an RPN.
My dilemma is this...
Do I go into a basic medicine placement to get the skills I need and than attempt to get into the speciality I want or do I do for L & D or NICU.
My fear is that if I get NICU, no one will hire me later because I only have neonate experience.
Last edit by Iamslumping on Apr 3
Your preceptorship placement will not "make or break you." There are many schools that don't offer a preceptorship at all. The most valuable things this placement can teach you are: critical thinking, time management, prioritization, and give you an opportunity to gain experience with clinical skills. My preceptorship was done on an adult respiratory floor and my first job after graduation was in the PICU. Very different populations with some overlap, but the experience that I gained managing a 4-5 patient assignment during my capstone was what benefitted me most as a new grad. The clinical skills I learned, such as tracheostomy cleaning and suctioning, chest tube care and physical assessment were also helpful.
Choose an area that will maximize your ability to provide as much care and gain as much experience as possible. Remember, there is no guarantee you will get a job in your desired specialty right after graduation. Your preceptorship should prepare you for any job, not just one. I would not choose L&D. The patient population is very limited and your ability to perform nursing skills will be limited as well. Many L&D patients elect not to have students involved in their care. If the NICU placement will allow you to perform skills, then that may be a good option. However, many NICUs allow students to perform very few tasks. If your role will be primarily observing, then this placement will not benefit you over all. You can't go wrong with an inpatient floor, and the skills you learn will be applicable no matter what area you land a job.
Thank you so much. When I say make me or break me, I mean in terms of my nursing skills.
I think ou are right. I will probably go for a generic inpatient medicine floor to increase my skill and knowledge base.
I accidentally voted for L&D, but I meant to vote NICU. Sorry! I wanted to have my practicum in the NICU, but there weren't enough spots and I ended up in a surgical ICU. NICU would be a great learning experience, and having your practicum there could be your ticket in as a new grad. It's also a way for you to see if NICU is what you really want to do. Also, at the hospital where I had clinical, the NICU nurses served as the "neonatal rapid response" and would attend high risk births, c-sections, and would respond to codes on the L&D/PP units when babies where involved.
If you are really serious about NICU, you need to take your shot at it. It's very difficult to break into that field later. You may never get another chance. Don't let fear/anxiety cause you to waste your chance.
If you want to work in a NICU as a new grad, you should try for preceptorship in NICU. I have known nurses to get new grad jobs in the NICU. 100% of them did their preceptorship in a NICU.
You may not have much control over your eventual preceptorship placement. Accept your placement with grace and vow to learn as much as possible. Wherever you end up, there is much to be learned.
It's much less important where you do your placement, and much much more important what you learn during that placement.
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