New Graduate Nurse

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    Hi everyone!

    I just graduated with my BSN in December from a nursing school in Ohio. When I graduated I moved to Tracy California (near San Francisco) to be with my husband. I am enrolled in a BSN-DNP program specializing in NNP. I LOVED everything about the NICU and I understand in looking for a job as a new graduate, many places will not hire into specialty areas. I worked as a nursing assistant in the float pool for 2 years while finishing my degree so I am not without experience in working in a hospital. Does anyone know of any hospitals that would hire a new graduate nurse (preferably into a NICU)? In order to begin clinicals in my DNP program I have to have worked for 2 years in a level III nursery. This puts me at a disadvantage, but I love neonatology and I'm not willing to give up. I am a member of AWHONN, NANN, and ANN. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! (At this point, I am even willing to look into hospitals in other states if I could find a NICU position). Thanks everyone!

    Kayla Van Sloun, BSN
    kayla0120@aol.com
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  4. 0
    Unfortunately, it's a tough time to be a new grad, let alone trying to get into NICU, which is hard in and of itself. And living in the SF bay area is even worse; there are so many new grads that have been looking for a job in anything...a friend of mine looked for two years and finally got a job as a school nurse.

    I would look out of state and also be realistic that you might not get into NICU right away. Why didn't your school not help you get a NICU job if that's what you're in for? If you don't mind me asking, which school is it? Do they have any time limits on when you need the experience by? My advice is to not spend too long trying to get a NICU job period because it will get progressively harder to get a job if you have been a year out of school without experience...

    I would also look into getting some certifications like NRP and STABLE and if you can't get into NICU, look into L&D, post-partum, or peds.

    Good luck!
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    Thanks for the advice! I have been looking into other areas as well, but it seems, as you said, now is a difficult time for new graduate nurses. I graduated from the University of Toledo with my BSN- I worked for the hospital associated with the school for 2 years and was offered several positions, however they do not have peds, L&D, NICU, etc. I am attending the University of South Alabama for grad school. They have a Women and Children's hospital which I would be much more likely to get into since I am attending school there, however I was trying to stay in California so I could be with my husband. The more I am looking the more unlikely it seems that I will find something here. I have started looking out of state as well, still hoping to find something closer than Alabama though. I start clinicals fall of 2014 and I am supposed to have 2 years of level III NICU experience by then. I have began the certification process for NRP, PALS, and ACLS (I will look into STABLE and I am already BLS certified).

    Thanks again for the advice, every little bit helps!
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    Is it an option to slow down your pursuit of the DNP? It sounds like you're putting a lot of pressure on yourself. And, from experience, it's not easy to manage a marriage long distance. If you're willing to postpone your DNP, you can try securing a position in Peds, Mother-Baby, or Labor and Delivery and then eventually transfer to NICU internally.Good luck!
    not.done.yet likes this.
  7. 2
    You have a lot on your plate. Honestly, I have never known anyone to go into an NP program without having been in their job first. As for the certification, they really are not going to make you more marketable since you don't have the clinical experience to use with it. When you interview, you may have those certifications, but the reality of it is that you are still a graduate nurse. Have you called the hospitals in your area to see if they will let you shadow? That is a good way to put your foot in the door. Good luck!
    Kayla0120 and not.done.yet like this.
  8. 1
    I haven't considered looking into shadowing, that's a good idea. I can postpone my DNP (and will have to if unable to find a NICU position), but I have always planned to receive a terminal degree in nursing and while I'm young it seems to be the most ideal time for me to continue my education. I am only attending school part time and plan to work full time as well (I've always worked 2 jobs while attending full time classes so I'm used to the pressure). My husband has a bachelors degree and is working as a combustion engineer and wants to return to school for his MBA, but we can only afford for one of us to go to school at a time, so he is waiting for me to finish. We don't have kids yet and I know that will change my priorities so I'd prefer to do it all now while I can concentrate on school and work. We've been through the long distance thing for the last several months because he moved here before I graduated so I know it is difficult and it is definitely not my ideal situation.

    I will check into job shadowing, I agree it would be a great way to get in the door. I feel in love with NICU during my NICU rotation and during my women's health classes. The knowledge came easily to me because I found it so interesting. I had originally planned to receive my ACNP with a cardiovascular sub specialty until I did my NICU (and peds rotation). I could switch to a PNP, however it was the NICU that showed me just how precious life really was and I haven't considered any other options sense. I may not have much experience, but I have worked in the float pool of a hospital as an NA and I've seen just about everything. The ICU's became the place I loved the most- being able to completely care for a small number of patients made me feel like I could do so much more to help them (both physically and emotionally). In my peds rotation I fell in love with a 2 month old infant with down syndrome, ASD, and VSD. She was scheduled to undergo open heart surgery the next month. I still think about her everyday. Pediatrics breaks my heart- to see young kids afraid of nurses because they get poked and prodded really bothered me. In NICU I could incorporate my love for kids, ICUs, and see how precious life can really be. I've never looked back and I have my heart set on this which is why I don't mind picking a specialty before working as an RN much.
    futurenurse809 likes this.
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    To be quite honest with you, it sounds to me like you might find bedside nursing more fulfilling. In my limited experience I rarely saw NPs at the bedside unless we solicited their assistance. And of course, when they did their assessments. But it really sounds to me like you'd enjoy doing routine cares and interacting with families on a regular basis. Once you get more experience, I'm sure you'll be better able to make a final decision. You could always remain a staff nurse and use your advanced degree to teach. Just a thought.
    Kayla0120 likes this.
  10. 1
    I have thought of that as well. As a practice doctorate I will be doing more bedside nursing than the PhD, but another reason for pursuing this degree is to teach once I am older and unable to keep up with the hospital nursing. I agree with you though, it is beside nursing that I am passionate about. After getting experience and receiving my degree I will have several possibilities as to what I want to do.
    futurenurse809 likes this.
  11. 0
    Keep it up and don't give up till you reach your goal
  12. 0
    Hello! I don't really know anything about nicu jobs in California, but I did want to ask you a question about your nnp program. Are you already accepted to south Alabama? I graduated in may with my bsn and will start in the nicu next week. I am applying to nnp programs for the spring. Do u like souths program? Was it difficult to get into?


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