Going from Adult ICU to NICU

  1. Hello,

    I have experience in adult critical care and am just wondering if it is fairly easy ( in your opinion ) to go into the NICU? When managers hire newbies would they prefer critical care experience over pediatric/neonatal experience or vice versa? I am thinking that this is something that I may be interested in in the near future and am just wondering if I would need to get peds experience first or if i could just easily make the transition from adult critical care to NICU.

    thanks!
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   dawngloves
    I went from adult ICU to NICU with no NICU expereince. It was fairly easy. You have praticed time management and urgency already. Things that held me up were dosages, (so small!) and vital sign hang ups, (HR 150!!!) I couldn't tell you what a NM would prefer. It depends on the person.Good luck!
  4. by   LeLeeFNP
    Quote from dawngloves
    I went from adult ICU to NICU with no NICU expereince. It was fairly easy. You have praticed time management and urgency already. Things that held me up were dosages, (so small!) and vital sign hang ups, (HR 150!!!) I couldn't tell you what a NM would prefer. It depends on the person.Good luck!



    Thanks for sharing your experience!
  5. by   TiffyRN
    I came from telemetry to NICU and my transition was fairly easy though thankfully I was given almost the full orientation period as new grads (11wks for me vs. 12wks for new grad).

    I know telemetry is not anywhere near the same world as critical care, but it was adult to infant. I think initially acknowledging the differences will go a long way to an easy transition. I have seen a few former critical care nurses come into our unit. They have in all done extremely well. I think most managers are very happy to have adult critical care nurses come over.
  6. by   neonatal_nurse
    Oh, dear, NICU setting is so much different from adult ICU. You have to unlearn some of the things you're used to doing before, some things you need to learn more. First, there's the difference in supplies-- needle gauge, trach tubes, medication dosages-- you need to remember that your dealing with a neonate. Second is the approach. You have to be more sensitive to the needs of the family, as you cannot really rely on asking the patient (especially in assessment of s/sx) you also have to hone your clinical eye.
  7. by   littleneoRN
    I think the biggest thing will probably be forgetting your knowledge of physiology and issues without really forgetting it. Meaning that they're still little human beings, but things are working differently, especially for preemies. The diagnoses and complications you deal with are totally different. So from that perspective, you may feel a bit like a new grad. But you've got the time management, professional skills, and framework of being a nurse. Meaning you know what kinds of questions to ask and things to think about. You'll just have to remind yourself frequently not to assume that what you see in a baby means the same thing it means in an adults. Everything from vital signs to assessment findings to lab values. You should look for a job where they will give you nearly as much or as much orientation as a new grad, but I would also expect you'll be further along when you finish that orientation than a new grad.

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