Do I need med surg experience to be a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse?

  1. I graduated from nursing school with a BSN in 1970. I worked as a school nurse for two years from 1970-1972. The rest of my career has been as an elementary school teacher. I recently took a refresher nursing course. Do you think I need to work as a med surg nurse before getting a job as a Neonatal Intensive Care nurse??? Thanks for any advice you can give me?
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   prmenrs
    No. In fact, I believe it would be counterproductive. Try to find a Level III NICU in your area that will let you have a "new grad" orientation. A smart Nurse Manager will recognize your life experiences in other areas of nursing as an advantage long term, and provide you with the support you need to work effectively in a NICU.

    Good luck to you!
  4. by   llg
    I definitely agree that a year or two of adult med/surg is not necessary -- and it may, in fact, be counter-productive.

    However, because you have been out of nursing for so long, you might have trouble in a large NICU with very high acuity -- particularly if it is short-staffed. I have worked with many "older" nurses returning to the bedside in NICU after having been away for a while and many of them struggle with the pace and the acuity. I have even seen it with former NICU nurses who have tried to return to the bedside after having spent years in management or educational roles.

    As the previous poster said, I would look for a NICU that had an extensive new grad orientation that would be willing to consider you the same as a new grad. I would also look for a NICU that was well-staffed and perhaps one that was not the highest level of acuity. .... Maybe even a Level II Nursery or a minimal Level III.

    Good luck,
    llg
  5. by   Tiki_Torch
    I agree with the others that previous med-surg experience is not necessary. When I graduated from an ADN program I was hired into a Well Baby Nursery which 6 months later blended with the postpartum unit to become a Mother-Baby unit. After 7 years of that I went to a level III NICU. The only med-surg experience I had was for 6 months I worked two 8 hour night shifts during the end of my college days.

    Check out the possibilities available to you; speak with the managers and listen to your heart. If the NICU offers a well-organized orientation program then you should have no problem. You should not "count" as a nurse on anybody's staff schedule while you are in orientation in my opinion.

    Good luck and enjoy yourself!!!!
    :hatparty:
  6. by   Gompers
    Definitely agree with everyone else on this! Don't bother getting med-surg experience - it's a whole different world, and there's no need to waste time or risk getting burned out in an area you have no interest in. If you want to ease into things, you might want to try like a post-partum/newborn nursery type job first. However, those areas can get pretty hectic so while the acuity is low, the pace is pretty fast. So if you want to go straight into NICU, just do it. Most have great orientation programs nowadays. Even if someone had been working adult ICU for 20 years, they'd still have to go through a full orientation in the NICU because it's just so different. Good luck!
  7. by   wjf00
    Agree with what everyone is saying here. Med/Surg is a total waste of time if your goal is NICU. I think hospitals made up that crap about getting a year of Med/Surg simply to staff an area that is always short.

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