Initial job at an NICU

  1. What is the process for being hired into an NICU as a RN? I am very interested in this field, but I am wondering what experience a nurse generally has before being hired into a neonatal unit. It seems like you'd have to have major experience with babies to move into this position.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   EricJRN
    Check with your local hospitals to find out if there are new grad nurse internship programs in the NICU. They'll generally include classroom and clinical training and they'll usually keep you on as a staff nurse after completion of your internship.
  4. by   SteveNNP
    Not all NICUs require previous experience working with neonates, but most prefer it. Usually it's done on a person to person basis. Just be prepared for a steep learning curve, and find a place that offers a good orientation consisting of classroom and floor time, and is at least 10-12 weeks long. I was hired as a new grad after doing my senior practicum on the unit. It was the best career choice I've ever made.
  5. by   StudentNurseSteph
    i wish we had the option of having a NICU senior practicum...our school only allows med/surg related practicums...
  6. by   mslinzyann
    Thank you for the replies! I am intensely interested in working with neonates, but I have another question: Is there a great deal of opportunity to speak with/educate the family about their babie's care, or is all of that left to the neonatologist? I would like to have a chance to speak with the parents of the patients about their children's care. ( i think..)
  7. by   justme1972
    I was determined not to work a job while in nursing school, but I found out a hospital about an hour away will hire you as a student nurse worker for the NICU if you can commit to one, 8-hour shift per week and be on call for 1/2 shift one other day for the same unit.

    They also have an internship and an externship, however, I have a friend who is in her 3rd semester doing this, and she went on and on about how great the program was....and then ended it by telling me she was failing nursing b/c of the number of shifts she is required to work.

    That doesn't sound llike something I would do.
  8. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from StudentNurseSteph
    i wish we had the option of having a NICU senior practicum...our school only allows med/surg related practicums.
    We also do only med/surg clinicals throughout school.

    I'd appreciate just a day through a NICU. This is an area that highly interests me, but I don't want to commit to an internship/fellowship unless I'm fairly sure it might be a good fit.

    I did a summer internship in an ER this summer and was able to semi- rule that out as a "must-do" at graduation, and one day in the OR during clinicals helped me determine that was a definite no-no. So I appreciate your sentiments above. I am working on scheduling a shadow in a NICU and another at a special care nursery.

    Best wishes!!!
  9. by   RainDreamer
    Quote from mslinzyann
    Thank you for the replies! I am intensely interested in working with neonates, but I have another question: Is there a great deal of opportunity to speak with/educate the family about their babie's care, or is all of that left to the neonatologist? I would like to have a chance to speak with the parents of the patients about their children's care. ( i think..)
    We do a lot of teaching/education with the parents. The neos/NNPs explain a lot of stuff too, but we're the ones that are at the bedside constantly the whole time the parents are there ...... so a lot of times, especially if it's a new baby, the parents have a lot of questions and concerns.

    Also, upon discharge there is a lot of teaching that needs to be done before a baby goes home. And the teaching starts long before discharge ..... so we're constantly teaching/reminding/enforcing different things. Pretty much all the discharge teaching is left up to the nursing staff.

    So yes, as a NICU nurse, you'll be speaking with parents quite a bit regarding their child's care, what's going on, educating, and updating them.
  10. by   medchick
    I started in the NICU right out of school. We have an 12 week orientation that can be shorter or longer as needed. I was on orientation for 9 weeks. I didn't have any experience with babies before. Like a previous poster mentioned, being right out of school you have a very steep learning curve but, if it is what you really want to di you will put your all into learning everything you can. We don't have a specific intern program but we are having internship classes. Here you start from day one as a staff nurse doing patient care. We also do a majority of the teaching when it comes to our babies. We are with them all the time and with the parents.
  11. by   SteveNNP
    Why don't you go to your nursing clinical advisor and see if it's possible for you to spend a few of your clinical days (maybe in your OB/maternity rotation) in the NICU? Make sure you emphasize that this is what you are highly interested in, and offer to do patient research, writeups, etc....

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