Advice on becoming a NICU Nurse

  1. Hello, I am about to enroll in my community colleges 2 year associate nursing program, my goal is to finish the 2 years and get hired in any NICU unit I can. Is this a reasonable goal I set for myself? I have no desire to work with adults so I am hoping to make the jump straight from school to a NICU unit and was wanting to know from some experienced people if I have a good shot at this goal or not. I love kids and I have heard nurses are in high demand so that is what is drawing my interest to becoming a NICU Nurse. Thanks for any advice!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Ruby Vee
    People have finished school and gone directly into the NICU, but you may have to decide whether you can afford to wait for one particular specialty before starting to work. Many of us have bills to pay and would have to set a reasonable time limit for finding work -- if the NICU job didn't come along, we'd have to take something else.

    Another thing to consider -- after exposure to various other patient populations during nursing school and clinicals, you may find that your heart is truly in another specialty. Keep an open mind. You may find that you hate NICU but love adults.
  4. by   prmenrs
    Many NICUs prefer to hire BSNs, so be forewarned.
  5. by   Guy in Babyland
    Quote from prmenrs
    Many NICUs prefer to hire BSNs, so be forewarned.
    This may be the biggest obstacle. We hire almost exclusively new grads for our NICU. They have either worked as a PCA in the unit or summer externship prior to graduation. All of them graduated from a BSN program.
  6. by   virginaboy778
    Does this prefer hiring of BSNs able to every state? And sometimes I see pages of job postings would they hold out for BSNs even if not many BSNs are applying?
  7. by   jesseboy18
    I was in the same boat as you coming from a community college ADN program. Apply to a Student Nurse Program at your Pediatric Hospital if they have one, it gets you a foot in the door and actually when I was Peer Interviewed I had floors fight for me and was offered an ER position but I really wanted NICU and I started working there two weeks later. Then 3 months into my job and crying every other night I realized NICU was not for me and went into adults and left NICU on good terms and eligible for rehire and if I wanted to come back but I don't think I'd ever want to. I really wish I had worked in NICU more as a student nurse instead of the floors and ER. Really try to experience a little bit of everything until you are set on a specialty because you never know if you will like it or hate it. I love being a nurse, but it really is true when you hear it takes a special kind of nurse work in NICU as goes for a lot of specialties. Good Luck and don't let being a ADN nurse stop you from pursuing your dreams. Oh and I'm working in ER now and love it
  8. by   KindaBack
    It is reasonable but less likely than other routes.

    A couple of things:

    1) Try as hard as you can to land a preceptorship in a large NICU... both for experience and for networking.

    2) Get *any* job in a large academic medical center and give it some time (1-2 years) and you can probably jump to NICU. The large centers tend to have much more lateral mobility for clinical staff. I know 3 nurses who ended up in the NICU by this route.
  9. by   cjcsoon2bnp
    NICU positions are very difficult to get because there is so much interest (certainly not impossible, just need to be ready for the challenge). I would tell anyone who hasn't started in an ADN program yet to strongly consider transferring to a BSN program. The BSN will make you more marketable and can open doors to certain positions (some hospitals in metro areas NYC, Boston, Miami, Dallas etc. require new grad. applicants to have a BSN.

    Best of luck!

    !Chris
  10. by   kelleyk1991
    I was hired in the NICU as an ADN new grad.
  11. by   vintage_RN
    My advice is to not totally rule out the adult world, especially because it's difficult to get into NICU or pediatric areas from the get-go - unless you complete your final preceptorship there. I worked in adult post-surgery for 3 years prior to transferring to the NICU. Most of my skills did not transfer over and it was and is a huge learning curve for me. However, core skills are the same throughout nursing and I've found that I have had an easier time than the new grad new hires as I have time management skills, skills in communicating with families, dealing with difficult situations etc. These skills have allowed me to be much more confident in this transition and ultimately an overall better nurse. So if you can't get into this area immediately (it would be awesome if you do), don't rule out other areas. All experience is valuable.
  12. by   kdkout
    Personally, I'd get your BSN first because a lot of employers want it so you may be limiting yourself. If I could, I'd suggest you do med/surg for a year first and then do NICU.....but I'm sure my answer is unpopular. Good luck!
  13. by   NICU_BSNRN
    I am starting my first RN job on Monday as a NICU nurse. I have wanted NICU for the past decade, and got my BSN so I would be more likely to get a specialty job like that when I got to the point of applying. JMO...here its about the same amount of schooling to get your BSN vs ADN (maybe a semester shorter to get associates) so I just went for it. I know 3 others who got hired along with me, all have BSN. My manager said she prefers those with BSN for her NICU. Obviously ever place is different...but if you are really stuck on being in a speicality like NICU and not doing anything else, the better you look on paper, the more likely you are to get the job.

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