requesting help from a new nicu grad

  1. Hi there. Since i can remember I have wanted to be a NICU nurse. I am currently enrolled in a ASS/RN program and will graduate next december. I have an externship with a level two NICU in the area this summer. I hope to do a fellowship upon graduation. I had a meeting with my advisor today who was a NICU nurse for over 30 yrs. She does not recommend new nurses in any ICU. She explained that a new nurse does not have the experience and that even if you do a fellowship, six mo. isnt enough time to learn the basics. She gave me the senario of a baby coding and no one being around. would a new nurse know what to do? She also said that older Nicu nurses dont want you as their peers because of the inexperience. My advisor basically said i was making a bad choice. what do you think? how are you handling the situation? would you recommend it? or looking back would you have done a mother/baby run before specializing? please i need guidence.
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    I'd say bullocks, I don't believe in generalizing that no new grads should go into a certain area. It really depends on where you start. Our unit hires new grads, gives them an excellent orientation, and continued support. No one here would ever be alone if a baby coded (and even an experienced nurse alone wouldn't be able to run a code since compressions, bagging, giving meds and recording takes a few people!). It depends very much on the particulars of the unit. If it were a 4 bed unit out in the boonies that has very few experienced staff members and wouldn't give you a good orientation, you should not go there as a new grad. If it is a large unit that has success with other new grads it has hired, then maybe it would be ok for you. The real question is do you think it's the right area for you as a new grad? Do you think you would benefit from time on mother baby? I did OB before NICU and that was right for me. But we take new grads and they do just as well as those who put in a year on med-surg. Some do great, others don't.
  4. by   rainbows4me
    Quote from Sneech07
    Hi there. Since i can remember I have wanted to be a NICU nurse. I am currently enrolled in a ASS/RN program and will graduate next december. I have an externship with a level two NICU in the area this summer. I hope to do a fellowship upon graduation. I had a meeting with my advisor today who was a NICU nurse for over 30 yrs. She does not recommend new nurses in any ICU. She explained that a new nurse does not have the experience and that even if you do a fellowship, six mo. isnt enough time to learn the basics. She gave me the senario of a baby coding and no one being around. would a new nurse know what to do? She also said that older Nicu nurses dont want you as their peers because of the inexperience. My advisor basically said i was making a bad choice. what do you think? how are you handling the situation? would you recommend it? or looking back would you have done a mother/baby run before specializing? please i need guidence.
    Sounds to me like you got advice from the 'old school' camp. I will be graduating this June and will be going straight into a level III NICU later this summer. During nursing school, I developed a strong interest in critical care, but was unsure of how to mix that with my desire to work with labor/delivery/baby population. After rotating through a NICU, I decided I'd like to give it a try. During my process of trying to decide what to do (I was lucky enough to have a few options in different critical care areas), I got lots of different advice. Some was very similar to what you got (do the med surg first), but those who know ME gave me the advice that I ended up taking: If you feel confident in your ability to go straight into critical care, you'll do well. The majority felt that it was your ability to work hard and your confidence in yourself that determine your success. Since I agreed to take the job, I'm very excited. I will receive a long orientation (4-6 months) and an additional year of mentoring. Everyone I have talked with who has gone straight into critical care with adequate orientation and support has been happy with their experiences. And if you're interviewing in a facility that doesn't like new grads (been to many), you don't want to work there anyway. Sorry I can't offer any insight on how it WILL be... I'll be interested to follow this thread to hear from those who have gone before me... Good luck to you!
  5. by   NICU Newbie
    Someone in the level III NICU where I am doing my capstone for 3 months said to me "just rememeber, you will never be alone." It is so true. Just as long as you are willing to ask someone for help if you are unsure, and have a true willingness to learn, you'll be fine. You see nurses with years of experience asking each other for advice or just to go over something they are getting ready to do that they haven't done in awhile. The learning curve is very steep in the NICU, for anyone!

    I think that if I had been told I couldn't go into the NICU as a new grad, I would end up a bitter, mean nurse in another area. NICU is the only place I really want to be--I say ignore her. Nobobdy can stop you from applying where you want to. But look for a good orientation. I am not working at the place where I am doing my capstone because the children's hospital in my area has a fantastic orientation in their NICU, and that is way more appealing to me than staying in a hospital where I am comfortable. Good luck!
  6. by   nekhismom
    well, I took my first job in a NICU in January, and I haven't had any problems. I think you have to do what is best for you. Don't be discouraged by one person, who PROBABLY doesn't know your skill level! If you want NICU, then go for it! New grads CAN do it, especially if you are going to get a good orientation.

    I happen to be leaving NICU because I'm moving half way across the country, and my unit is CRAP, it has nothing to do with ability as a new grad.

    Best of luck to you, and make it happen if you really want it!
  7. by   Picksomething
    When I graduated (20 years ago) I knew I wanted NICU but felt I didn't know enough about babies. So I worked regular newborn nursery for a while. I felt if I became familiar with normal and healthy, it would be easier to recognize abnorm and ill.

    I became bored after a few months and then cross-trained to the NICU. This worked well for me because it was less stressful. By the time I was in the NICU I was familiar with a lot of the Docs, nurses, hosp policies and all the other routine stuff. But like I said, that was 20 years ago. There are lots of excellent interships out there.
  8. by   SURFnNURSE
    I went straight into a level III NICU after graduation and had no problems with the transition. I have been working in the NICU for nearly 2 years. We had a 3mo orientation. starting off, i didn't know if i could possibly be compitant enough to be an effective NICU nurse. There is alot of information to learn, but luckily at my hospital we have a good orientation program. the first thing we did was get NRP certified, then there were several new grad courses including STABLE. After those 3 months, not only did I feel compitant, but the other nurses felt comfortable also. We have hired several new grads here since, and i have noticed that they know more than some of the nurses that have been around for years.
  9. by   rainbows4me
    Thanks for sharing your experience SURFnNURSE, I must say that I have begun to get a little nervous about starting. Don't get me wrong, I'm THRILLED to have the opportunity and think I'll end up doing well, but there's always that fear of the learning curve. Hard to think about the implications of my mistakes. Glad to hear you did it, did it well, and don't regret your decision.
  10. by   TiffyRN
    :angryfire Sounds like you have an advisor similar the the advisors I had in nursing school. They were of the thought that all nurses had to do 2 years in med/surg before they did anything else. I "did my time" and then some and I'm not sure med/surg nursing is right for anyone the way it's set up nowadays but that's another topic. . .

    Most of the new hires in my unit (large level III) are new grads with a small percentage being transfers from other areas or experienced nurses. It truly does take more than an internship/fellowship and 6 months experience but that's true in any field. Hopefully in the unit where you will be working you will have the support we have, which is a charge nurse and delivery nurse a shout away who have experience if things go bad or if you just need someone to bounce ideas off of.

    My advice is to smile nicely to your advisor (you still have to finish jumping through the nursing school hoops) and follow your dream. You won't even believe how different things are in the real world of nursing (good and bad).
    Last edit by TiffyRN on Mar 25, '04

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