Paramedic interested in becoming a NICU RN

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    Greetings, everyone. First and foremost, I just wanted to say that I enjoy reading the posts on AllNurses.com. As a paramedic who is transitioning into the world of nursing, many of my questions have been answered by reading the various topics on this website. As I venture closer to the completion of my RN program (two more semesters, thankfully), I've been actively narrowing down the path in which I'd like to pursue as an entry-level RN. Aside from adult critical care, one of the avenues that is most interesting to me is NICU.

    Now, before I proceed any further, I'd like to make mention that one of the biggest challenges that I've been faced with in my journey is the transition between prehospital and nursing care. I've been humbled multiple times through my nursing education which has made me open-minded to all insight and avenues within nursing. You won't find the stereotypical "know it all" paramedic mentality with this guy... not anymore, at least.

    Anyhow, to enlighten you with my previous background, I've been functioning as a ground and flight paramedic for approximately five years. I possess an Associate's degree in Emergency Medical Services as well as instructor credentials in BCLS, ACLS, PALS, ITLS as well as Neonatal Resuscitation Program provider. Within my experience, I've managed neonatal patients within both the interfacility and prehospital environments (i.e. prehospital delivery necessitating critical interventions in remote settings). My scope of practice as a flight paramedic has afforded me opportunities with advanced airway, ventilator, and pharmaceutical management of neonatal patients.

    In addition, having also completed NICU clinical rotations both in my initial paramedic education as well as while acquiring my critical care paramedic credential, I find the area of specialty to be extremely fascinating and a very unique area of critical care nursing. One highlight of this area is the autonomy and independence of the nurses. In addition, it seems like it is a great avenue to progress into the advanced practice role (which is my definitive goal with my nursing career).

    With that being said, I have a list of questions:

    1.) Currently, I'm pursuing an ASN degree from a respected community college known for producing quality RNs. If I chose to pursue NICU as a career path, I'd like to receive high-volume, high-acuity experience. Would I struggle obtaining a NICU position at hospitals such as Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, or Johns Hopkins?

    2.) If so, would a BSN help? (I have full intentions of beginning a BSN completion program immediately after completing my ASN program).

    3.) Would my critical care transport experience of NICU patients make me a more favorable candidate?

    4.) What steps can be taken to make me a more favorable entry-level candidate for a major University-based health system?

    5.) As a male, are there any forseeable struggles encountered within the NICU?

    Any advice or insight would be greatly appreciated. Thank you very much for your time!
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  4. 4 Comments so far...

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    Your experience makes you a perfect fit for the NICU as a new graduate RN. If you have cared for neonates in the field you should at least come in with a level of comfort that most new graduates would not have. Seems in my area that a BSN is necessary to get a university hospital job. Being a male should not be an issue; it will probly help if anything as a good gender mix seems to lighten things up on the units.
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    The hospitals that you mention are Magnet facility and I know for a fact that CHOP only hires BSNs and I wouldn't be surprised if the others are the same. You are probably better off applying to a smaller NICU, but if it is a well-recognized NICU, I would e-mail the recruitor to ask if they accept ADNs just so that you don't waste your time in case. With your background, you definitely sound like an "ideal" ADN with your experience (beyond an experienced NICU RN who has an ADN), but some hospitals find it hard to look past the ADN because of the Magnet designation. Make sure to put in your e-mail a brief account of your experience so that they know you're not just a regular new grad.

    An alternative is trying to work on a peds floor or OB (if you can stomach it ; ).

    Other neonatal certifications you could look for are STABLE and cardiac STABLE, although they may be a little tough to grasp (you'll probably have to study a bit) since you don't have the experience.

    For being a male, you may have some moms of various religious backgrounds that are uncomfortable, but that's pretty rare. We have like 5 guys on our unit and a few male RTs who don't hardly any issues.

    Good luck! Let us know how things go!
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    I work at a magnet, university affiliated NICU at a well respected children's hospital. We do hire new grad ADNs but I would think the competition is extra tough for them. With your experience and credentials, however, I'm sure you would be a stand-out candidate. We only have one male RN in our 200-something staff that I can think of, but plenty of the RTs are male and I have never seen a problem based off of their gender. Good luck!
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    5.) As a male, are there any forseeable struggles encountered within the NICU?
    As a former ADN new grad male RN in the NICU, I've only ever heard one or two negative comments about my being a dude, both were from idiot co-workers...never a negative word from a parent. Indeed, I am often requested by parents. They're interested in your heart and your skills more than they are interested in your sex.
    celyseRNBSN and prmenrs like this.


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