Waiting List To Volunteer In Nicu

  1. When I first decided to go to nursing school, I knew I wanted to be a NICU nurse and I that I was willing to do whatever it takes. I just finished my one year of prereqs and will be starting Nursing 1 and 2 in August. I just started working parttime as a unit secretary in the hospital where my school is located. I contacted the assistant nurse manager in the NICU to inquire about volunteering there for the two years I will be in school. She told me that all volunteers had to go through their volunteer department. Long story short, I was told by the volunteer department that their is a waiting list to volunteer in the NICU. I have to attend a orientation specifically for NICU volunteers that is only given twice a year and then I would be placed on the waiting list. My jaw dropped, I couldn't believe that it was a waiting list! I was sooo disappointed, but the good news was, the orientation will be coming up in the next month or so and director of volunteering saw how desperately I wanted to work up there, she told me since I was a nursing student she would definitely give me priority before the others (ironically most of the people on the waiting list are just people in the community who want to work with the babies she said). So hopefully it won't take as long as I first imagined and I'll be working up there within a few months or so. I also talked to the nurse educator in the unit and she is having a full course NRP training in September, so I am going to do that as well. Our hospitals NICU is so hard to get into because the staff just doesn't leave. I asked the HR about the frequency of vacancies and she said honestly when someone does leave there, it is usually because they are moving away, retiring or something like that. Not to go work in another unit or hospital. But whatever experience I can get volunteering, plus I plan to do an externship in a NICU next summer (I already have my list of hospitals with level III NICUs),hopefully it will help me get into a NICU somewhere else if not there.
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  2. 3 Comments

  3. by   Gompers
    Quote from njstudentnurse
    ironically most of the people on the waiting list are just people in the community who want to work with the babies she said
    Just wondering why you thought this was ironic? That's basically what all volunteers are - people in the community who want to help, and sometimes they request to work with babies or children especially.

    Usually if it's a nursing student trying to get her foot into the NICU, she doesn't go the volunteer route. Most try to get jobs in the NICU as secretaries, nursing assistants (in the NICUs that use them), or things like that. Doing the externship is a GREAT idea!!! As far as the NRP course, most don't recommend taking it until you have your RN, I don't think. Basically, you won't be able to use any of those skills until you've been working for a few months as a nurse because they don't send students or assistants to recussitate newborns at deliveries. What might be a better option is to see if there is a S.T.A.B.L.E. program near you - www.stableprogram.org - because that is like a mini-course on NICU. It teaches you what sick babies need once they enter the nursery to get them stabilized. Good luck!!! NICU is the BEST!!!
  4. by   TristateRN
    Quote from Gompers
    Just wondering why you thought this was ironic? That's basically what all volunteers are - people in the community who want to help, and sometimes they request to work with babies or children especially.

    Usually if it's a nursing student trying to get her foot into the NICU, she doesn't go the volunteer route. Most try to get jobs in the NICU as secretaries, nursing assistants (in the NICUs that use them), or things like that. Doing the externship is a GREAT idea!!! As far as the NRP course, most don't recommend taking it until you have your RN, I don't think. Basically, you won't be able to use any of those skills until you've been working for a few months as a nurse because they don't send students or assistants to recussitate newborns at deliveries. What might be a better option is to see if there is a S.T.A.B.L.E. program near you - www.stableprogram.org - because that is like a mini-course on NICU. It teaches you what sick babies need once they enter the nursery to get them stabilized. Good luck!!! NICU is the BEST!!!
    Thanks for the tip on S.T.A.B.L.E, I will definitely look into that. I thought it was ironic that they have tons of volunteer positions available in other parts of the hospitals, but the NICU is the unit that has a waiting list. I thought that maybe other students were trying to do the same thing as me, but it was just other volunteers. They do not use PCT's at the NICU here and there were no unit secretary positions. Honestly even if there was a unit secretary position available, I don't think I would have gotten alot of exposure working up close with the babies. (my hospital is very funny about allowing the secretaries to get involved with any direct patient care, so you are very limited) The volunteers jobs are to feed them, change the isolletes and other things. It is more direct care then a unit secretary would be allowed. The only reason I thought about doing the NRP before becoming an RN is that I thought it might be helpful to have on my resume when I'm trying to get an externship in a NICU.......do you think I should reconsider? Any advice is most appreciated.
  5. by   Gompers
    Quote from njstudentnurse
    The volunteers jobs are to feed them, change the isolletes and other things. It is more direct care then a unit secretary would be allowed. The only reason I thought about doing the NRP before becoming an RN is that I thought it might be helpful to have on my resume when I'm trying to get an externship in a NICU.......do you think I should reconsider? Any advice is most appreciated.
    It's the same with our secretaries - they aren't supposed to even touch the babies. The only reason I recommended it was that if you are already an employee in the NICU it sometimes helps if a job becomes available when you're an RN. For a long time, my unit didn't hire anyone (also because no one ever seems to leave!) so that was how some of the nurses got their foot in the door. Our volunteers can hold babies but never feed them - most of our kids don't eat normally so they aren't qualified to deal with that. That's all they get to do, hold babies. Mostly grandmothers, from what I can see.

    As far as the NRP, you could always take it if they're offering - can't hurt. They may make you retake the class when you start as an RN in the NICU though, because it might make more sense to you after orientation. It can be confusing because it's very specific information that they don't touch on in nursing school. Good luck!

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