Suggestions for a nursing student...

  1. I am a 3rd semester ADN student who will be graduating in May.

    I haven't loved my clinical rotations which have primarily been adult med/surg. When I started the nursing school route and people would ask me where I thought I would like to work, I always said my interests were ER and NICU.

    I did an internship and have continued to work as a tech in a lower-level ED. I don't love it like I thought I would and am now leaning toward my NICU interest. My reasons are varied, and while management/admin in this ED has expressed being very pro-new graduate nurses, the nurses and a tech have heavily suggest that I get med/surg experience first. I have concerns that in the middle of the night when things hit the fan, I wouldn't have the support of the staff I am working with this mentality (I've heard the backbiting that goes on). Additionally, being a student still, I have a TREMENDOUS amount of fear about how much I know that I don't know yet.

    I have a shadow set up next week in both the NICU and the cardiac/transplant units of a local children's hospital. One of my regrets about my school is that we primarily do clinicals in adult med/surg locations. There are many schools in this area and clinical locations are apparently difficult to get.

    What are the things I should be looking for and asking about when I am doing these shadows? Since they will only be 4 hours in length (each), I want to get the most out of the experiences that will hopefully help me determine if this is truly where I want to work. I have a tremendous desire to be the best at what I do; this is something I am finding frustrating in school knowing that I am getting bits and pieces and not feeling confident about any of it on the whole. I understand this hospital where I am shadowing loves new grads and has a good orientation/training program. We did a 4-week peds rotation through here and the nurse recruiter was very encouraging.

    I wish we had more exposure to the various areas of hospitals where we might someday be employed as it's quite frightening to try to make a decision that so heavily impacts our future careers right out of school. I am also a VERY non-traditional student (older) and don't feel I have a lot of time to move from job to job for years to find my niche.

    Any suggestions on how I might know this will be a good fit?!?!

    Thanks all! :Snowman1:
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Hanabna
    I am planning on being a nurse in the NICU someday as well. I have some questions/concerns that I'll just add to your post instead of making a new thread...

    I was Christmas shopping yesterday and while standing in line I saw the tiniest baby I'd ever seen. Usually I'd ooh and aww over how adorable and tiny she was, but instead I started thinking "Could I poke this baby with needles? Could I locate a vein and put an IV in or take blood?" and it just kind of sent me panicking and second guessing myself.

    Did most of you find it difficult when you started working in the NICU for the first time? Did you feel uncomfortable having to stick needles in and be so rough with such a tiny and delicate baby? Did you quickly get over it and used to it?
  4. by   WDWpixieRN
    Quote from Hanabna
    Did most of you find it difficult when you started working in the NICU for the first time? Did you feel uncomfortable having to stick needles in and be so rough with such a tiny and delicate baby? Did you quickly get over it and used to it?
    :yeahthat: People ask me how I could do that and I think that's what worries me some, too...
  5. by   BittyBabyGrower
    First, the getting med surg experience is a falsehood....it doesn't matter a bit if you are going into NICU. Our hospital likes you to have a year of experience somewhere other than the ER to start. The reason you are mainly in adults in school is that most of the NCLEX is geared that way and most jobs are in the adult population,not peds.


    Second, things to ask...patient ratio, length of orientation, shifts, what classes are offered to you during orientation (ie NRP, STABLE, etc), will you float all over the hospital if your unit is slow or do they keep you in maternal child, do they mandate OT if short staffed, how is the working relationship between the docs and the nursing staff. Once you are on the unit, keep your ears open to how the staff interact with each other.

    Good Luck!
  6. by   wensday
    Did most of you find it difficult when you started working in the NICU for the first time? Did you feel uncomfortable having to stick needles in and be so rough with such a tiny and delicate baby? Did you quickly get over it and used to it?
    You get over it because you are doing it for a good reason- and if it's not a good reason then why are you doing it? If you get the baby nice and snuggled up, give sucrose or whatever and apologise to the baby and the parents first...you cope.
  7. by   Hanabna
    Quote from wensday
    You get over it because you are doing it for a good reason- and if it's not a good reason then why are you doing it? If you get the baby nice and snuggled up, give sucrose or whatever and apologise to the baby and the parents first...you cope.
    Yeah, that's what I thinking too. That you would just get over it and do what needs to be done for the sake of the baby's life and not worry about it hurting or being uncomfortable for a bit. It was just strange seeing such a small baby in person and thinking if I were to pick it up I would be so freaking gentel and probably scared I would drop it or something. Maybe I just need to spend more time with babies period. I was always good with infants but it's been a while. I'm just not used to it.

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