Tips on getting onto L&D or NICU

  1. Hi everyone! I am going into my final year of nursing school and will need to begin applying for internships in December. I went into Nursing knowing I wanted to do L&D but I know I would just love NICU too. I am also completely aware these are competitive units to get onto, so I was wondering if there are any tips on how to get onto these floors? I am a mother, fiance, work full time, and attend school full time. I work as a PCA on a med-surg floor and am always looking for openings on those floors but it is so rare. I thought about volunteering but there are not any volunteer openings that I am aware of. Any tips out there? I just know it is where I belong, so I am just itching for any advice. Thank you so much!!
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    About justkellymarie

    Joined: Feb '10; Posts: 23; Likes: 2
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  3. by   RNlovesherPharmD
    You might have difficulty getting volunteer opportunities in this area due to safety concerns/potential kidnapping situations many hospitals have made these areas secure units. I worked L and D for my senior capstone. During this time I networked with nurses/nurse managers and located an NRP course and took AWHONN's Intro to Fetal Heart Monitoring online.

    I still had to work 6 months on Med/Surg floor until I was given a job at another hospital in L and D--but I think those things helped my "new grad" resume stand out
  4. by   Seas
    If it's hard to get into L&D, neonatal areas, try to get into a unit that would help you get in OB in the future. L&D is considered a critical area and they usually don't want to hire new grads. Having worked at ER, ICU type areas would help being hired at L&D floor. well, the thing is, other critical areas may not hire new grads either. Just start somewhere if you can't get in L&D, and you can gradually come close to OB.
  5. by   Nurse_Diane
    I think taking a position on a med/surg floor would be a great idea (there are definitely more plentiful than OB, I'm guessing), Get your 1 year of m/s experience and then move on to your specialty area.

    Like another poster said, volunteering can't hurt either.

  6. by   melmarie23
    I am currently doing med/surg to get some experience under my belt to aid myself in my endeavors of getting into L&D. I was an extern during school in L&D, so that too boosts my resume. I also took a CLC course and became certified, joined AWHONN and became certified in NRP. Boost your resume any way that you can.

    Good luck!
  7. by   88nurse2010
    Job shadowing can go a long way. It always helps to have staff meet you because they will talk to their manager. Ask questions and show that you are really interested in L&D. Volunteering with other maternal/child organizations may be helpful too since it is hard to get a lot of time in the locked down units.
    I was just hired in L&D after one year med-surg experience. I really believe this was HUGE. Out of the three of us hired, two of us had experience (the other was an ER nurse). An experienced RN is easier for the unit to train. Also, I was in the process of becoming certified as a childbirth educator as well as volunteering once a month at the local pregnancy care center. Demonstrating initiative to learn about OB on your own time is helpful.
    I definitely don't think you MUST work med-surg before going to a specialty but experience goes a long way. Good luck!
  8. by   RNmilwife
    I think that you can get stuck in med-surg.
  9. by   mojomama
    I just wanted to share my experience. I just graduated in May and officially accepted a position as a nurse intern at one of the major hospitals in Houston in labor and delivery. It was very VERY competitive and they only took 3 into L&D.

    First of all, be willing to work in any field but L&D bc of the competitiveness. I was up front in my interviews when they asked me what unit I wanted to work. (What I said verbatim basically was "My ultimate desire is to work in Labor and Delivery. However, I know that any field will help prepare me for my future career in Labor and Delivery. For example, in telemetry there is a lot of monitoring involved, just as in L&D with fetal monitoring. In MED/SURG I would be learning to prioritize, which is fundamental in L&D. In an ICU or ER setting I would be dealing with high-acuity patients, just like in Labor and Delivery. L&D is my field of choice, however I am open to anything as I can apply it to my future." I told them what I wanted, but that I am open to anything in order to achieve that goal.)

    Second, join a professional organization. I am a member of both AWHONN and CAPPA. That is a resume builder, and the charge nurse was impressed with the fact that I was already a member.

    That leads me to number 3... attend the meetings of the org. you join! What better way to network, than in a room full of L&D nurses??? Plus, you get to hear some really great topics and speakers.

    Like I said, it's a tough field to start out in. Think of it this way... my school had about 150 people graduating. There are probably 5 other BSN programs in the area, as well as a good handful of ADN programs. That is a lot of people graduating and looking at the same time for a job. I know the hospital I applied to had 500+ applicants for 45-50 spots (remember, only 3 were L&D). Anyway you can make yourself stand out and let your desire be known is the best way possible. I can't stress enough though that it is difficult to get into. If you get a job, consider yourself blessed, as many of my classmates still don't have a job. This is partly bc they get stuck in the mode of wanting to work in only one area... you have to be open to all possibilities (see tip #1).

    Hope all of this helps!