New Grad NICU Support Thread - page 11

by niculove 74,202 Views | 210 Comments

Calling all New Grad NICU nurses...thanks to a thread started by NurseDevonL, we have decided to start a support group. Hopefully some of our more experienced NICU nurses will look in every so often to lend some support and... Read More


  1. 0
    Hello All!
    I graduated from a BScN program in april this year and got my RN registration in August. I did my final placement in a well known pediatric hospital on their cardiology unit and fell in LOVE with caring for infants and children! I just interviewed for a NICU position this past monday on a small level II unit and I couldn't be happier. I feel the interview went very well as the unit manager said to me after the interview "You showed a lot of initiative and that really works in your favour"!! The very next morning I got a call from the nurse recruiter (who I've been in contact with for a few weeks) asking me to fill out the consent forms for a background check and my reference checks and send it right back to her!! I feel really confident about this but I am trying very hard not to hold my breath until a formal offer is given.

    My question to all you new grad NICU nurses! What did you find was the hardest part about starting in the NICU? I'm trying to see what is (potentially) ahead of me in the months to come.
  2. 0
    I had an interview yesterday at the NICU in the hospital that I already work for. I really hope I get it, as I LOVE NICU and can't see myself working on any other unit. They told me it would be about 2 weeks before they finish everything and I am dreading the wait! Any one out there from Dallas area?
  3. 3
    Quote from SmashleyRN
    Hello All!
    I graduated from a BScN program in april this year and got my RN registration in August. I did my final placement in a well known pediatric hospital on their cardiology unit and fell in LOVE with caring for infants and children! I just interviewed for a NICU position this past monday on a small level II unit and I couldn't be happier. I feel the interview went very well as the unit manager said to me after the interview "You showed a lot of initiative and that really works in your favour"!! The very next morning I got a call from the nurse recruiter (who I've been in contact with for a few weeks) asking me to fill out the consent forms for a background check and my reference checks and send it right back to her!! I feel really confident about this but I am trying very hard not to hold my breath until a formal offer is given.

    My question to all you new grad NICU nurses! What did you find was the hardest part about starting in the NICU? I'm trying to see what is (potentially) ahead of me in the months to come.
    Hi Smashley! It really sounds like you have the job in the bag. I have been a NICU RN since January, on my own since the beginning of June..gosh, I can't believe it's been that long already! I won't be considered a new grad for much longer. Crazy how fast time flies. I work in a large level II/III unit. The hardest part for me when I started was the feeling of not knowing what I was doing. Also, I was really scared that I would miss a change in condition and a baby would die, and it would be all my fault. I don't have kids, so even just picking them up and handling them was so awkward for me in the beginning. I only spent 8 hours total in the NICU during clinicals and even then, I was not allowed to touch the babies. I honestly felt like I went to nursing school for nothing, as the NICU is an entirely different world. The vital sign ranges are different, meds are very specialized, even the amounts you give of some drugs are hard to wrap your mind around (a 0.05ml dose of something is very common)!

    I spent about 4 weeks under a preceptor on the level II side before I worked a couple of shifts on my own..and it was terrifying! Just the responsibility of taking care of someone else's child weighed on me. After that, I oriented for 3 months on the level III side. Talk about scary! I was really intimidated by ventilated infants and I hated moving them. Now, 4 months later, I am putting them prone without a problem. Starting IVs still prove to be a challenge, I'm about 50:50, but I haven't had many opportunities to start them.

    You will learn a lot from the nurses that have been there a long time. I have been awed by some of the nurses who "just had a bad feeling" about a baby, and sure enough they were right. I want to get to that point, where I call a doc and ask for a bunch of blood test because I have a "feeling" that a baby is going bad. I guess that will come with more experience. Granted, I have called a doc because of assessment changes (up on O2 or green residuals) and gotten new orders, and that always makes me feel good!

    Since you will potentially be working on the level II side, apnea/bradycardia will be an issue you will see a lot. Also, feeding intolerances and NEC are common problems you have to be vigilant about. I am always so paranoid about their little bellies! NEC can claim a life in a matter of hours. I've seen it and it's horrible. I don't mean to scare you in any way, but these are all things you will probably see.

    I love my job more than anything in this world and I cannot see myself doing anything else. It is amazing to me how much I learn every day. I love my little peanuts and there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a little one go home! Sorry for writing a book, heehee. Let me know if you have any more questions.. I really hope that you get the job!
  4. 0
    Quote from chickensRN
    Hi Smashley! It really sounds like you have the job in the bag. I have been a NICU RN since January, on my own since the beginning of June..gosh, I can't believe it's been that long already! I won't be considered a new grad for much longer. Crazy how fast time flies. I work in a large level II/III unit. The hardest part for me when I started was the feeling of not knowing what I was doing. Also, I was really scared that I would miss a change in condition and a baby would die, and it would be all my fault. I don't have kids, so even just picking them up and handling them was so awkward for me in the beginning. I only spent 8 hours total in the NICU during clinicals and even then, I was not allowed to touch the babies. I honestly felt like I went to nursing school for nothing, as the NICU is an entirely different world. The vital sign ranges are different, meds are very specialized, even the amounts you give of some drugs are hard to wrap your mind around (a 0.05ml dose of something is very common)!

    I spent about 4 weeks under a preceptor on the level II side before I worked a couple of shifts on my own..and it was terrifying! Just the responsibility of taking care of someone else's child weighed on me. After that, I oriented for 3 months on the level III side. Talk about scary! I was really intimidated by ventilated infants and I hated moving them. Now, 4 months later, I am putting them prone without a problem. Starting IVs still prove to be a challenge, I'm about 50:50, but I haven't had many opportunities to start them.

    You will learn a lot from the nurses that have been there a long time. I have been awed by some of the nurses who "just had a bad feeling" about a baby, and sure enough they were right. I want to get to that point, where I call a doc and ask for a bunch of blood test because I have a "feeling" that a baby is going bad. I guess that will come with more experience. Granted, I have called a doc because of assessment changes (up on O2 or green residuals) and gotten new orders, and that always makes me feel good!

    Since you will potentially be working on the level II side, apnea/bradycardia will be an issue you will see a lot. Also, feeding intolerances and NEC are common problems you have to be vigilant about. I am always so paranoid about their little bellies! NEC can claim a life in a matter of hours. I've seen it and it's horrible. I don't mean to scare you in any way, but these are all things you will probably see.

    I love my job more than anything in this world and I cannot see myself doing anything else. It is amazing to me how much I learn every day. I love my little peanuts and there's nothing more rewarding than seeing a little one go home! Sorry for writing a book, heehee. Let me know if you have any more questions.. I really hope that you get the job!
    Thanks so much ChickensRN! I loved your little book! I do have a slight advantage with the holding babies and being comfortable around them from my 4 months on a pediatric cardiology unit! Most of our kiddies were congenital and under a year old. I've had wonderful (sarcasm) experiences with apnea since in our step down unit we had a bunch of babes on Milrinone/PGE's to help their little hearts work/keep their PDA's open until surgery and both those drips can cause apnec spells. I remember the transition from adult to pediatric took me a month to wrap my head around. Assessments are so different and factoring in feeds and cluster care! WOW! I've only had one kid with NEC and i hate having babes who are NPO because they just don't understand why they can't eat.

    I had an amazing preceptor on cardiology! she helped me and pushed me so much! and I just heard from her that the hospital i interviewed with contacted her for a reference!! I sooo can't wait to start nursing especially if its with the little peanuts and pickles in the NICU!
  5. 1
    Hi everyone! I am a new grad who just found out I will be starting a NICU new grad residency program in Jan! I am SO excited, this is exactly what I have wanted to do throughout school and I feel so lucky to be able to start in NICU. Any advice for my first few days? I know I will be taking classes from some of the CNS's in the area.
    Bortaz, RN likes this.
  6. 0
    Congrats! What state is your program located in?
  7. 0
    Quote from banannie
    Congrats! What state is your program located in?

    Southern California
  8. 0
    Hi all!

    I am a new grad RN and was just offered a position in a level III NICU at a large children's hospital I am unbelievably excited and thankful! I am in shock that I got my dream position. I had applied for countless jobs with no luck and was getting very discouraged. To all the new grads out there. Keep your head up and stay positive, I know this is hard to do. Any advice or recommended reading would be greatly appreciated! :heartbeat
  9. 0
    ADN - May 2008
    BSN - May 2010

    Taking my professors' advice to get med-surg experience first, I've been working on the med-surg floor at a small community hospital in Yonkers, NY since June 2008. My dream is to become a NICU nurse. The hospital I work at does not have a NICU or a mother-baby unit, or even pediatrics.

    I've been applying to NICU positions since May 2010. However, I have found that everyone finds a "candidate more suitable for the position" since I do not fit the criteria of "previous NICU experience preferred."

    I am still hanging on to my dream of becoming a nurse in the NICU.

    What do I do now?
  10. 2
    I started working as a new graduate in a Level 3 NICU in October 2010. The hardest part for me was simply applying what I had learned (mostly on adults) in a completely different patient setting. The assessment was the same and different all at the same time. It still followed the same layout... head to toe, however what you are assessing can be and is different in the babies. Also, working with the parents and family was something I had to get used to. They are usually quite anxious or scared because they do not understand everything that is happening with their baby. Some will simply ask you questions and others will act out this anxiety in emotions. Being able to understand that, and deal appropriately with parents and their varying personalities is a big part of being a NICU nurse.

    Working in the NICU was my dream because I had worked there for a year as a student nurse... I knew it is where I wanted to be. It has been extremely fulfilling, at times demanding, but overall I would not change a thing.

    If you are about to start working in a NICU... enjoy it! If you are still seeking a job, my advice for you is to never quit. You may have to take a position that pays a little lower since you don't have any or very little NICU experience... but if that is truly your dream, then I would say go for it! Some important things to remember during a NICU interview: discuss being a team player (gives examples in nursing school or your current job), show enthusiasm and appreciation about the prospect of working in the NICU, and lastly... be yourself in your interview and let your inner goodness shine through.
    Paco-RN and higherexpectations like this.


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