New Grad Nurse Hired into the NICU- Seeking Advice

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    Hello all! I'm new to posting on this site but read the articles for encouragement all through nursing school! Thought I'd write to get some advice from some more experienced nurses.

    I just graduated from Nursing school in August of this year. While my first love is the ER, I love critical care areas and applied for all the Critical care opening at my local hospital (its a big one). I was hired into the NICU which is a new, large 60 bed unit. I start December 10th and have been trying to prepare for my new career. Any advice from NICU nurses out there? Good things to get involved with? Good magazines to read? Good shoes to buy? Anything really Thanks so much
  2. 8 Comments so far...

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    first of all congrats! i loved NICU when i did my rotation any tips on how to land NICU job? thanks!
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    Hey! Congrats! I started in the nicu in July as a new grad. I absolutely love it. I love working in a critical care setting as well, and I don't feel like I've given that up at all. Here are some things that helped me during my orientation:
    1) read all you can. There is so much to learn. Just don't get bogged down by trying tolearn everything at once. I joined NANN. They have some great past articles that you can access. Such a great resource. I've probably used NANN articles more than anything else. I have the merestein neonatal book, but to be honest, I haven't read it as much as I probably should have. Another great book is the core curriculum for neonatal nursing.
    2) make the most of your orientation. Ask questions, observe as much as u can even if it isn't your patient.

    I hope this helps!
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    Any advice from NICU nurses out there? Good things to get involved with? Good magazines to read? Good shoes to buy?

    Hi! I started NICU nursing as a new graduate July 2011 and I have learned a LOT and continue to learn something new every day.

    Good things to get involved with- first, get settled with your unit/schedule, etc. Then get involved with an organization such as NANN and your local chapter, and a unit committee.

    Good things to read- not sure about magazines, but I purchased a couple of Neonatal specific textbooks that I always keep in my bag at work for quick reference, or to read about conditions my babies have that I don't know that much about.

    Good shoes- I usually just wear tennis shoes. Not sure if your unit has a dress code, a lot of my friends swear by Dansko nursing shoes but I've never been able to "break them in". If I have a long shift where I'm on my feet a lot I always feel better if I've been in sneakers!

    General advice- find the nurses that are willing to teach you and watch what they do. Ask lots of questions (no question is too stupid). If you have down time, walk your unit and see if there's anything interesting going on that you could learn from. Practice, practice, practice (starting IVs, lab draws, etc.). If you don't feel comfortable doing something, find a couple "go to" people you would feel comfortable asking for help/advice. Know who your resources are and use them! My first few months I stuck some tape on the back of my badge and put important numbers on it too- lab, my charge nurses, etc. Be confident with parents- they won't know you don't have experience unless you act nervous, but if you don't know something don't try to fake it- tell them you will find out and let them know ASAP.

    I hope you love it as much as I do.
  6. 0
    Quote from nicurn426
    Hey! Congrats! I started in the nicu in July as a new grad. I absolutely love it. I love working in a critical care setting as well, and I don't feel like I've given that up at all. Here are some things that helped me during my orientation:
    1) read all you can. There is so much to learn. Just don't get bogged down by trying tolearn everything at once. I joined NANN. They have some great past articles that you can access. Such a great resource. I've probably used NANN articles more than anything else. I have the merestein neonatal book, but to be honest, I haven't read it as much as I probably should have. Another great book is the core curriculum for neonatal nursing.
    2) make the most of your orientation. Ask questions, observe as much as u can even if it isn't your patient.

    I hope this helps!
    Any NANN articles you might recommend as a jumping off point? I'm starting my first RN job in January (NICU, ICN, same thing) and I want to start reading everything at the same time!
  7. 1
    I would read NANN's articles about Necrotizing Entercolitis, Feedings (types and techniques), and respiratory problems that a newborn can have (pphn, bpd, etc).
    gallifrey likes this.
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    Congrats! I don't have much advice for you, as I have only been in the NICU about a month myself, but I agree with a previous poster to go ahead and start researching things you see frequently in the NICU. I came from adults, but something I have found that applied to me on my adult unit and in the NICU, is that it helps to have a type of "brain sheet" to help organize your day. There are some great examples of some on this website, and sometimes units have their own too.

    As for shoes, everyone really is different...I know tons of nurses who love their Danskos. For me, not so much. I have tried tons of different kinds of shoes since I became a nurse, and I've found that Nike running shoes work best for me! It'll be trial and error.

    I'm not sure how your orientation process is gonna be, but I was given a notebook that we are filling with notes from each class. I will still be on orientation for a few months, but I already have so much info in my notebook! I have also been coming home and writing down the stuff that each baby I cared for that day/week had, and then looking up info about it. If you don't have classes/papers given to you(and even if you do), I think that will be a good way to help you learn everything.

    Good luck to you and congrats again! Like I said, it's only been a month for me, but so far, I LOVE it, and I really can't imagine going back to anything else!
  9. 0
    Quote from nicurn426
    I would read NANN's articles about Necrotizing Entercolitis, Feedings (types and techniques), and respiratory problems that a newborn can have (pphn, bpd, etc).
    Excellent, thank you!

    Quote from littlepeopleRNICU
    I'm not sure how your orientation process is gonna be, but I was given a notebook that we are filling with notes from each class. I will still be on orientation for a few months, but I already have so much info in my notebook! I have also been coming home and writing down the stuff that each baby I cared for that day/week had, and then looking up info about it. If you don't have classes/papers given to you(and even if you do), I think that will be a good way to help you learn everything.
    Good suggestion, thanks!
  10. 0
    Congrats!
    I have been a nicu RN for 12 years. It is a wonderful place to work, humbling, rewarding- just amazing!
    You have already received great advice.
    My advice pay attention to detail, nicu nurses are VERY detail focused. We calculate to the 100th place,we count time by minutes if not seconds, measure in CM and MM. Your preceptor may seem very relaxed and non caring but trust me, she/he will be paying attention to the details. Most of all enjoy the learning experience, give yourself time to learn. It will take lots of time, I remember having my 'ah ha' moment a year into.
    As for shoes I love Birki's I have had the same pair for 7 years, I just change out the cork bed every year or two.


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