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Does NICU experience transfer to adult ICU?


Specializes in ER. Has 2 years experience.

I also posted this ? on the NICU and ER areas.... 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 a trauma ICU? 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!


Specializes in Military training, mostly med surg..

Have you thought about being upfront and honest with that manager and ask if you work in that department if a position becomes available in the ICU that you would be able to transfer to that unit? I am at the point right now i just want a job and would be happy to work anywhere right now! haahahah

Some basic ICU skills should apply/transfer but my guess is that you would still have a lot to learn transitioning to the trauma ICU from peds. If you want to work with an adult population, working on a tele, stepdown, or med-surg may not be a horrible idea for the first few months while waiting on the trauma icu. If you go into the PICU already wanting out you're just setting yourself up for a miserable experience (which I would imagine would be hard to learn in). If possible - I would ask the trauma ICU manager (or someone in HR) if there is a certain type of unit/floor they would suggest you work on to help prepare you to be a good candidate for their unit when they're ready to start hiring. ~IMO

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience.

Have no fear - competency is 'portable'. I have had experience in both areas.

The critical thinking skills you develop in NICU will easily transfer to adults. Of course, the technical 'stuff' will be different, so you will have to become familiar with different vent/settings, med dosages, hemodynamics, etc. but your ability to analyze patient problems, determine the best course of action, and prioritize your interventions -- that will translate.

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