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Adult to NICU?

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I've been an RN for 11 years, all in adult. Started out med/surg, went to ICU for 7 years and currently in PACU. I have applied multiple times for our level 3 NICU, have emailed the manager and nurse recruiter but still no interview. I'm excited to learn a new speciality but am incredibly disappointed that I haven't even gotten an interview. What are they looking for??

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A lot of NICUs hire a lot of new grads and then train them up using residency programs. That's not to say it's not possible, we just hired some nurses with adult nursing experience but that is because our demand for hiring is greater than the pool of nurses applying with NICU experience. NICU is a competitive specialty that may require you to move if you are really wanting it badly. I see people on here posting about how they commute 2 hrs for their dream job but then they end up resenting the job because the commute is destroying them so I wouldn't recommend that.

Do you have anything on your resume that shows you are interested in neonatal? That'll be what would help you stand out in a large pool of applicants. You could volunteer for a neonatal charity or Ronald McDonald house or you could attend a neonatal course or conference. This shows the manager how interested you are in the speciality.

Would you be willing to take a peads position ? Might be an waited transition from adult med surg and might make it easier to get into NICU.

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I've been an RN for 11 years, all in adult. Started out med/surg, went to ICU for 7 years and currently in PACU. I have applied multiple times for our level 3 NICU, have emailed the manager and nurse recruiter but still no interview. I'm excited to learn a new speciality but am incredibly disappointed that I haven't even gotten an interview. What are they looking for??

I've worked in level 3 NICU since 2000. I had previous experience, but not NICU. They did not seem to care when I applied. Director told me my experience was not a selling point on my resume! (um, ok, thank you??) Even gen Peds is not similar to NICU. Newborns and preemies are different animals.

Here are my thoughts why they may be ignoring you:

1. You are a senior RN. Your pay rate is much higher than a new grad which they can mold and train however they want (no bad habits). Every unit has an operational budget. Nursing labor uses the majority of it. You may be cost prohibitive.

2. Their NICU has a tight clique. Sorry to say, but many NICUs are super protective of their patients. The nurses that are crazy perfectionists. It's a very detail oriented specialty. A team sport. Tiny volume/calculation errors can be lethal. So they may see adult adult adult and say NOPE. Adult ICU/CV skills will not really apply to infant pathophys, growth and development issues...

3. Nepotism is a factor in your facility. Stop emailing the directors. Phone a friend instead that has a connection to the unit. That is how you get jobs in my hospital...not through the job boards.

Do your leg work and good luck! Persistence usually pays off. Text, call and email anyone with connections to NICU.

Edited by Babyboss 19

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Adult ICU/CV skills will not really apply to infant pathophys, growth and development issues...

But that's not to say there are *NO* relevant skills developed on an adult unit.

  • The ability to work under pressure
  • Attention to detail
  • perseverance
  • Seeing the "long view" thru what I call "the short telescope"... meaning you can see the possible/probable long term course of a patient thru noticing and taking care of their immediate needs. (Hope that made sense, it's harder to explain than I expected)
  • Sixth sense/ gut feeling/ intuition.... whatever you want to call it-- you can just tell when a patient starts "eyeballing the drain" and you can catch it before they pull the stopper and start circling.

That's just my quick list-- There are other skills too....

But you will have to commit to learning how teeny-tiny, itty-bitty brand new kiddos work, and how to care for them.

Adult ICU/CV skills will not really apply to infant pathophys, growth and development issues]Stop emailing the directors. Phone a friend instead that has a connection to the unit. That is how you get jobs in my hospital...not through the job boards.

Do your leg work and good luck! Persistence usually pays off. Text, call and email anyone with connections to NICU.

Better yet, make an appointment, and introduce yourself in person.

It will make an impression and the director(s) will remember you. At the meeting you can ask them what they're looking for in a candidate, and give them your commitment that you will work on accomplishing whatever they tell you you need to do.

An email just doesn't have the same impact.

Besides, you never know.... you might end up in their office right after someone has quit, or been let go, and you might look great 👍 -- an eager nurse that can learn the ropes and the unit will have less of a hole.

Finally, get the CEU's and cert's (NALS, etc) that you're gonna need ASAP. Then you can have those things on your resume, and even mention in your cover letter that you recently completed CEU's relevant to NICU. (Don't totally neglect continuing ed for your current position though.)

Good luck!

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When I applied to NICU from an adult ICU, I had to take a demotion from "Clinical Nurse 3" to "Clinical Nurse 2". I actually had to go to personnel to explain that I wanted to learn something new, and was willing to take the demotion to do it. Personnel looked @ me like I was nuts, but, I was kind of fed-up w/grown-ups, I had some ICU skills NICU wanted, and I was fascinated by those little creatures. They really are a whole 'nother species from adults and children.

You will feel like a new grad all over again, but you bring a maturity to the unit that new grads don't have. Ask if you can go into a residency program. You need the didactic.

Here are some books to help you get ready:

https://smile.amazon.com/Physical-Assessment-Newborn-Comprehensive-Examination-ebook/dp/B01IW8KKCE/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1543896793&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=physical+exam+of+the+newborn&psc=1

https://smile.amazon.com/Merenstein-Gardners-Handbook-Neonatal-Intensive/dp/032332083X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1543896871&sr=8-1&keywords=merenstein+%26+gardner%27s+handbook+of+neonatal+intensive+care%2C+8e

OR:

https://smile.amazon.com/Certification-Review-Neonatal-Intensive-Nursing/dp/032339129X/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=032339129X&pd_rd_r=405af156-f77b-11e8-891c-53872d98e486&pd_rd_w=bS5eM&pd_rd_wg=ULWU3&pf_rd_i=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_p=6725dbd6-9917-451d-beba-16af7874e407&pf_rd_r=44422H84M83PA76T1DPN&pf_rd_s=desktop-dp-sims&pf_rd_t=40701&psc=1&refRID=44422H84M83PA76T1DPN

https://smile.amazon.com/Textbook-Neonatal-Resuscitation-American-Pediatrics/dp/1610020243/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1543897034&sr=1-1&keywords=nrp+8th+edition

Learn something about normal newborns, too, and breastfeeding.

If there is a neonatal conference near you, try to attend. I agree w/going to the nurse manager, and expressing your interest.

Best wishes.

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Ask if you can go into a residency program.

I second this. As a new grad, I was in a residency program with an experienced RN who was wanting to switch specialties. She had been peds ER and switched to ped OR. Her residency was 8 months. I'm considering switching from peds (pulmonary acute care, now school nursing) to adult ICU, and I fully expect and hope to do a residency.

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