NICU for new grad?

  1. I am thinking about going into NICU..I was offered a position and also one on a med-surg neuro unit. I am very interested in nicu but I also wanted to get some med-surg experience, I also like caring for adults.
    I'm wondering if I will learn many skills etc in the NICU that I can also later use in another area? also the position offered is at night (after a 16 week orientation) and I'm wondering what the night shift would be like..Is it busy enough that you dont get bored and fall asleep hehe (I'm guessing you stay pretty busy) If anyone has any advice on whether I should get some med-srug experience or go straight to nicu please let me know! I would also like to talk to new grads who went straight to the nicu.
    thanks!! :spin:
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   BittyBabyGrower
    I would ask if you could go and shadow a nurse for 4 hours and see what you think. Personally, medsurg doesn't really help you with a whole lot in NICU as it is a whole different world, not even anythink like you learned in nursing school. The unit is mostly the same thru 24 hours...kids need fed, suctioned, meds to be given, baths to be done.
  4. by   Jolie
    It sounds like you have diverse interests, which is great. That will serve you well in your career, and enable you to pursue vastly different positions.

    If you have an interest in med-surg, it is a great specialty to start out in. But if you are considering a med-surg position because an instructor has insisted that all new grads should start out there, then don't bother. As BBG has stated, nothing you learn in med-surg will apply to neonates. Most large NICUs in teaching hospitals prefer new grads, since they have nothing to un-learn. Med-surg and adult ICU nurses can transition to the NICU, but it is typically more difficult for them to do so than a new grad with a "clean slate".

    As for going the other way, (NICU to med-surg), I really don't know. I've never known anyone who has had a desire to do so. I've known NICU nurses who have left to work in OB, peds, OR, school and clinic nursing, but never adult med-surg.

    As you consider your first RN position, it is vitally important to find a unit where you will receive a thorough orientation 1:1 with a consistent preceptor, and that includes both classroom and clinical instruction. I would recommend choosing a unit that has at least 50% experienced staff (meaning at least 2 years of experience on that unit) on all shifts.

    While the money may be tempting, be wary of hospitals offering large sign-on bonuses, as that is often a sign of poor staffing. Hospitals with good reputations and good staffing rarely need to offer such bonuses to recruit and retain staff.

    Good luck and happy hunting!
  5. by   RNin2007
    I will be a new grad in June of '07 and want to start in the NICU as well. I hope to be doing my reflective practice there in the spring...and i've already spent 12 weeks (2 days a week, 12 hour shifts) in the NICU. It's the whole reason why I went to nursing school. I also love working with adults and there were other rotations I have had in nursing school that I also feel would be very interesting. However, I really, really loved my time in the NICU and it's where my heart is at. The family dynamics of the NICU (parents are your patients too..) is something I enjoy too - parent education, support, etc. I like the challenge of critical care and eventually would like to become certified. So i'm going to follow my intuition - and i'm certain that things will fall into place.

    ~J
  6. by   holly150
    Thanks for your input! I accepted the nicu position and will start at the end of february! as long as I pass boards lol. I'm very excited and I know NICU is the right decision for me!
  7. by   UF RN
    I can give you my opinion based on experience. I went straight to the NICU as a new grad. I am so happy I did that. I thought that was probably what I wanted to do and taking the job more than confirmed it. It's true that you don't learn most NICU skills in nursing school. It's also true that you don't use a lot of the med surg and adult skills, which can work against you because you sort of "lose" these skills. No matter what you will always have resources available to relearn skills if you were to transfer units. Also, I work nights in a fairly busy level III NICU and never get bored and fall asleep. Like someone else said before, the NICU is pretty much the same around the clock because most of the babies schedules don't change during the night. I also agree that its a good idea to find out how your orientation will work. I had the same preceptor for 12 weeks and learned SO much. Overall I think you've made the right decision. The NICU is a great place to start out.
  8. by   charlabsn06
    This is so inspiring to hear, as I too have accepted a NICU position in the new grad program beginning in Feb. Although I was sure in my heart that this was the right choice for me, I had some reservations about future opportunities. I am happy to know that these choices are not necessarily written in stone, and with the amazing choices available for nurses, we can do many things in this profession.

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