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Desperate For The NICU

JenD1985 JenD1985 (New) New

Hey Everyone!

I am a new RN (yay!) I have been working on a telemetry unit for the past eight months at a local community hospital just outside of Boston. I must admit, I am so thankful my very first job out of nursing school is at a hospital where I see and learn a lot. However, I do not love my job. I love the people I work with, and I love my patients (most of them anyways!). I dread going to work though. I so desperately want to work in the NICU one day. My dream is to work with infants, however I'm not sure how to go about the process of getting a job. What qualifications are recruiters looking for? Will my eight months of experience in tele help, or do I have to stick it out longer? Currently I hold an ADN, but I am enrolled in a BSN program. I will be ACLS certified in January. I want my resume to really stick out before I start applying elsewhere. Any and all words of advice would be greatly appreciated!

essT specializes in NICU.

Does your hospital have a NICU, or a special care nursery at least? Often it's easiest to start with a lateral transfer within the hospital -- that's how I got into NICU. If you're willing to relocate, take a look at larger regional centers, universities, and teaching hospitals with level III or IV NICUs; they tend to have established residency programs for new grads and experienced nurses who are new to NICU.

Take a look at the NICU forum (under "specialties"). This question is asked on a very regular basis and you can read about others' experiences with the hiring process there.

Good luck!

If you work in Telemetry, see if you can transfer to another department, such as L&D/Maternity/Nursery and work there for a year or 2 and learn as much as you can. Then apply for a NICU position.

i've seen NICU hire new grads, but of course its tougher now in todays economy, but thats how I would do it. Telemetry is hard, but L&D maternity would be less demanding

NICUismylife specializes in NICU, RNC.

If your hospital has a NICU, then reaching out to that manager would be your first step. Let her know you are interested, find out how often they accept transfers from other depts, any education or certs that they would like you to get to make you more desirable, etc.

I am about to graduate in 4 weeks, and am interviewing for different NICU positions (my area is underserved so most new grads can go into the specialty of their choice upon graduation). Our instructors and hospital recruiters have said repeatedly that it is best to go to Med-surg for a year or two to secure a strong foundation before specializing. However, every NICU manager that I have spoken with (3 different hospitals) has said that if your passion is infants, then go straight to NICU because other than time management, you will not learn much that is applicable to neonates on a med-surg floor. And if you go into their new grad residency (only available to new grads), they will teach you the ins and outs of everything to do with neonatal care. They actually said they rarely transfer nurses from other areas, they prefer to hire new grads. I'm sure other areas are different, but first step is talking to your NICU nursing manager.

Good luck!

adventure_rn specializes in NICU, PICU.

Ok, I'm going to be the voice of dissent here, but I would not start considering a lateral transfer at this point. I'd wait at least a year and a half to two years to broach this subject with your manager. I'd also be very hesitant to approach another manager about a lateral move before talking to your own manager, out of concern for it getting back to your manager. Training a new grad is really expensive (tens of thousands of dollars), and your manager may feel offended if s/he feels that you're jumping ship at the first opportunity. Lateral moves are certainly possible, but I'd give it some time before making that request as a new grad, at the risk of making your current job pretty awkward if you're turned down.

In your job search, you can look for NICU jobs labeled 'New to Specialty;' the hospitals you're interested in may allow you to save your search and send you updates as jobs become available. Depending on your interests, you may want to expand your search to related fields, such as Mother-Baby or L&D, if you find that those positions become available more frequently than NICU positions. From there, it probably wouldn't be too difficult to cross-train to NICU, since that would support more flexible staffing by management.

I think that the best thing you can do to stand out is to have a strong cover letter, and to be able to give a compelling reason for why you'd like to work in the NICU. It's great if you can describe how your tele/med-surg skills would prepare you to be a strong NICU nurse (i.e. time management, teaching patients/families, staying calm in a crisis). Volunteering with neonates may give you some experience to draw from; NICUs in your area might even have volunteer cuddler positions (though I don't know if you as a staff member could volunteer at your own facility...) You could consider getting your NRP cert, although at your current job you'd have to pay for it out of pocket, whereas your NICU unit would cover the cost once you're hired. You could also potentially join a neonatal nursing association, though some might find it kind of weird since you're not actually a neonatal nurse yet...

Thank you so much for your advice. I'm actually pregnant with my third child right now, going on maternity leave in June. I was planning on staying on my unit until then and exploring other options while on leave. I realize that being a newer nurse it may be difficult to get my dream job so quick. I just really jumped the gun and accepted the first hospital job I was offered. It's not what I want and I worked too hard for my nursing degree to go to a job everyday that I hate. Life's too short right? I truly appreciate the time you took to give me advice.

Thank you so much for your advice!! And congratulations on your graduation! That is so exciting! Welcome to the wonderful profession!

NICU Guy specializes in NICU.

If you have the ability and desire to move, you would have an easier time getting a NICU job at a children's hospital (Level III/IV). They will have established training programs for new grad/ new to NICU hires. Start looking after your maternity leave in June.


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