I interviewed for a level IIIC NICU position at Children's Hospital Colorado last week. I have not heard back yet, but during the interview they said orientation would be 8 weeks long for an experienced nurse. I do not have NICU or hospital experience. I have worked one year in LTC/Rehab and one year in pediatrics as a substitute school nurse. They said I would still be considered an experienced nurse.
Is 8 weeks long enough for someone with no NICU expereince?
Nov 6, '12
Hi, I am just off orientation at a level 3. All nurses experiences or not get a 12 week orientation (unless they have worked in a NICU before). It's not like any other type of nursing, since the patho of a neonate is different and a lot of the disease processes as well. I would highly suggest asking for a longer orientation, or asking if they are willing to extend it at the end if you feel you need a few more weeks. With that said, I think 8 weeks you would be more than okay with a "grower-feeder" or a baby who is fairly stable.
Nov 7, '12
I have worked in two different Level 3 NICU's. One place my orientation was 2 weeks of class and 6 weeks on the unit during the day shift and then 2 weeks with a preceptor on the night shift. And the second place was one week in class and 8 weeks on the day shift. Both of these orientations were legnthy enough to get the gist of the flow and what to do. It took quite some to get comfortable with actually taking care of a micro preemie. However as with anything - the more you see and do, the better you become. Don't be afraid of taking any patient because they are "too critical or fragile". As long as you don't act like a know it all, and ask questions anytime you are unsure of yourself - it is the best way to learn and become comfortable. And you can always ask for an extended orientation if there are things that you think you have not seen, etc. During my orientations I was lucky enough to see basically everything. Some orientee's come and the NICU is very slow at that time, so they don't get to see as much and their orientation period isn't as beneficial as others.
Nov 7, '12
Do you know if you are vent training? If you are just going to take care of intermediates for a while, I think 8 weeks would be plenty of orientation. If you're vent training, then I would ask for 4ish more weeks.
Nov 9, '12
My NICU orientation was 10 weeks. 4 weeks with intermediate patients and 6 with ICU patients. I am a new grad and I feel like that was enough. I think maybe even 3 weeks intermediate and 7 ICU would have been better. I think you could get by with 8 weeks orientation as long as the people on the unit are helpful and you always have a resource to ask questions. You're never going to learn everything on orientation - it's impossible.
Nov 10, '12
Yes, 8 weeks is all inclusive (vents, ECMO, everything).
Nov 10, '12
ECMO in itself is about a 10 week learning curve. I think the unit manager is out of touch with reality.
Nov 11, '12
I agree that 8 weeks is not long enough. I have been a preceptor on a level III NICU for almost 12 years. We allow an orientation period of about 11 weeks of hands on pt care. It never seems to be enough. We do not do ECMO.
Nov 11, '12
The term "8 weeks" is misleading, I think. If you had a full 8 weeks, it'd be awesome. However, most "weeks" in nursing equate to 3 days. Each of those weeks are over before you know it.
Nov 12, '12
I just got a job in a Level IV NICU and my orientation is at least 12 weeks but up to 20 weeks and I have a year of pediatric experience. ASK FOR MORE TIME
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