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!