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Does NICU experience transfer to adult?


Specializes in ER. Has 2 years experience.

I posted this on the NICU area as well..... I am a new RN - I just got my license about 3 weeks ago. I did my final preceptorship in a Trauma ICU and LOVED it. Unfortunately, that hospital is not hiring new grads until July, so I am looking elsewhere. I had only applied to critical care units -I figured it was a long shot to get into a unit as a new grad, but since I am working and not in absolute desperate need of a job I might as well try that first.

Well, I got a call back from a NICU at a large hospital, interviewed, and was offered the position. For some reason, I am just not super excited like I thought I would be with my first job offer as a nurse. And, now I have been told that transfering from neonates to adults is very hard. I hate to take this position just because it was the first one offered to me and not be getting the experience I need to transition to my long term goal since NICU is such a specialty. But, I also hate to pass it up because the managers I met with were super nice, it's a great hospital, and a lot of other hospitals in my area are not hiring new grads right now, so I'm scared it might be my only offer.

I love kids, and of course babies, and I loved my peds rotation in school, but I just don't feel like it is the place for me - when I got a tour of the unit I couldn't imagine working there. That seems awful, but I am trying to be honest with myself, and I don't want to take a position that I don't feel my heart is into.

Oh, and I just applied to some general med/surg and tele positions last night, so I haven't even given those a chance, but I have to tell the recruiter my decision by the end of the business day tomorrow.

So, does anyone know if the experience I get in the NICU will help me at all for my goal of working in trauma? Maybe I am just nervous about taking the first job offer, or maybe it is just because it is not my dream position. Would I be better off working on a med/surg floor? Or am I stupid to pass up this opportunity?

Any advice/insight would be very much appreciated!

Creamsoda, ASN, RN

Specializes in ICU.

The thing to think about is, if they are going to give you the training for that specialty, dont jump ship when the opportunity arives too fast. They are going to put the time and effort to training you in NICU, so you need to be prepared to stay for a while. Id say a year at least. So say you do decide to try NICU then after a year or so transfer to trauma ICU, you will be quite rusty on your adult med surg skills as you didnt have a chance to really use those skills after graduation. I havent worked NICU but I precepted a nurse who went from NICU to adult ICU and she said for the most part the care of the NICU babies is pretty similar (thats just what I was told) so she got bored eventual and transfered to adult ICU, but she had previous med/surg experience so it was easier for her. In my opinion I would try med-surg or tele, that will give you a better background for trauma ICU while you are waiting for something to open up. Neonates and adults are just so different, especially the diseases, traumas and pathologies. Hope this helps you somewhat.

Medic09, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Flight. Has 10 years experience.

Congrats on your license and a good job offer!

My own neonatal experience is limited, but I'll share it anyway. I did a seven week rotation in NICU during school. On my flight job I've done a few neonatal flights accompanying the neo transport team. My regular work is general ED nurse, and flight paramedic. So, I understand your question well.

NICU is a really special environment. And unique. The neonates require a whole different kind of medicine and care. VERY challenging stuff. There's lots to know, and very subtle skills. I was awed during my seven weeks there. I think it would be far more stimulating, challenging, and a learning experience than med-surg. But my sense was that NICU is a world unto itself. I think a good NICU nurse could learn to do anything; but it really doesn't seem to resemble the rest of medicine and nursing very much.

Here's the thing. Just my :twocents:. NICU is real ICU. It is sophisticated and challenging. You might find it so interesting and rewarding that you never look back. If you don't stay there, I'd bet you'd never regret the time spent there. You will be awed by the nursing and medicine, and deeply touched by the babies, families, and staff. It won't prepare you for adult trauma and ICU; but if you're good you can always learn what you need for other areas of nursing.

I don't know you, so I wouldn't dare give actual advice. I just know that NICU is a special opportunity if it might suit you.

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