frustrated!

  1. Hello everyone!
    Well I'm a nurse with NO NICU experience who desperately wants find a NICU position! My past experience is working with moms during both the prenatal and postpartum period, lots of education about newborn care and self care during pregnancy/postpartum. My last job was at a community clinic where I did a little of everything...the thing is, it's a M-F 9-5 job, and I have my own baby to think about now, so I'm looking for a weekend position.

    So, I'm told that most NICU managers won't hire someone with no previous NICU experience. Well what the he**?! How does anyone GET NICU experience in the first place?

    My question is, should I just bypass the whole HR department and contact the nurse managers of local NICUs directly? Or is that too aggressive?

    The reason I ask is b/c I was told by HR today that I would need to start in (pediatric) med/surg prior to moving to the NICU. My thinking, from what I've read here, is that med/surg won't really prepare me for the NICU at all. The only benefit is that it'll get my foot in the door at that particular hospital.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks!
    Alma
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   KJRN79
    I don't have any NICU experience to relate here, but it seems that part of the problem could be if you are looking for a weekend position only. It seems to me that a hospital may want you to have weeks of orientation to NICU full time days before "allowing" you to work weekends. That might be part of the problem. Good luck. I hope someone else has a better answer!
  4. by   Almabella
    Hmmm. I hadn't thought of that. You may be right. I am willing to work straight evenings or day/evening (12 hour shifts). Thing is, I'm trying to do what's best for my baby while at the same time not completely sacrifice my career. It's a tough balance! He's only 10 weeks and I hate to leave him at all, but am completely opposed to daycare.

    I feel this real pull towards the NICU though. NICU nurses--do you think peds med/surg would be of benefit for me?

    Thanks!
    Alma
  5. by   prmenrs
    I think if I were you, I would put in my application. Look for a unit w/a really good orientation and/or new grad program. Request to interview w/hte Nurse Manager even if HR tells you you don't meet their needs. Sometimes if you can have a face to face, or even a phone interview, you'll have a better understanding of what they're looking for and what accomadations they can or will make for your situation.

    If you go ahead and buy a textbook like Merenstein and Gardner, and start studying, it will demonstrate your willingness and determination to the NM. I should think that will help.

    http://www.amazon.com/Handbook-Neona...e=UTF8&s=books

    A position in a NICU might not be the best fit right now because of your family obligations. You might need to wait till the baby is older, but you can use that time to study. You can also join the National Association of Neonatal Nurses, including your local chapter-do a little networking.

    I wish you luck.
    Last edit by prmenrs on Feb 26, '07
  6. by   Almabella
    Thanks for your advice!

    Just curious-why do you think a NICU position and my family obligations would be at odds?

    Do you think working pediatric med/surg would be of benefit to me at this time (for a future NICU position)? Or completely unrelated?

    Thank you!
  7. by   EricJRN
    Have you looked into the possibility of NICU nurse internships? They're often offered at larger hospitals and can be a great way for new grads or specialty changers to break into the NICU.
  8. by   Jolie
    Quote from KJRN79
    I don't have any NICU experience to relate here, but it seems that part of the problem could be if you are looking for a weekend position only. It seems to me that a hospital may want you to have weeks of orientation to NICU full time days before "allowing" you to work weekends. That might be part of the problem. Good luck. I hope someone else has a better answer!
    As a former NICU nurse manager, I think KJRN is right on the money here. Most large, teaching hospitals with Level III NICUs will hire new grads or nurses who lack NICU experience, but typically insist that they work full-time for a minimum of a year to gain proficiency before going to a part-time position. The learning curve in any specialty area is so steep that trying to "climb it" working part-time is very difficult and time consuming. Most new grad orientation programs for the NICU run from 3-6 months. Accomplishing that part-time could take as long as a year, far too long for a manager to have a "non-productive" employee on the payroll.

    Also, managers of smaller Level II NICUs tend to be less willing to hire inexperienced RNs since these units may not consistently have a patient population sick and vaired enough to support the orientation of a novice. I went to work in a Level II NICU about 5 years into my nursing career. I had previously worked in Level III NICUs and on an LDRP unit. During the 6 weeks of orientation to my new job, there were several days when the NICU was closed due to no census, and not a single ventilator baby was admitted during that time. That was not really a big deal, since I was already experienced in the care of ventilated infants, but it would have been imposible to adequately train a novice in that setting.

    So, if you are serious about getting into a NICU, you will probably have to be willing to work full time for at least a year. If you don't want to work full-time, (and with a new baby, I wouldn't either) then I would suggest taking a general peds or mother baby position in a hospital with a Level III NICU. You will get your "foot in the door", establish a good work record, network with your colleagues in the NICU, and prepare for a time better suited to full-time work.

    Good luck!
  9. by   Almabella
    Thank you all for your advice/opinions!
    Alma
  10. by   prmenrs
    Jolie explained it better than I did.

    I would advise you NOT to work in med-surg if your goal is NICU. It will not help, and may make it more difficult to transition to NICU. Babies are just way too different from adults.
  11. by   medchick
    Almabella, I just got offered positions on NICU's at two different hospitals and I just graduated in December 06. There are jobs out there. The one I took the nurse recruiter told me they don't hire new grads on their NICU but the nurse manager wanted me. I would apply and let the manager make the decision, not the recruiter. Good luck
  12. by   nanceynurse
    I started Nicu as a new nurse straight out of nursing school, and my hospital also hires GN's for Nicu. We do have a weekend work program but it is limited to nurses with a minimum of 1 yr. nicu experience, but most of the weekend crew has at least 2 yrs of nicu experience. The managers say the weekend should be staffed with nurses with experience due to limited support (from management) on weekends. Hope this helps.

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