Does NICU offer experience for other areas of nursing?


I just recently started working in the NICU so I am not sure if it is going to be my "niche" in nursing. Since I have no hospital experience with adults, let's say the NICU is not for me.... what other areas of nursing could I possibly bridge over to eventually with that experience? I'm just talking out loud here. I may end up loving the NICU. It just seems overwhelming right now and I'm very scared. At my age, I am not sure if I'm up for the that intense amount of stress, :eek: but we will see!

umcRN, BSN, RN

867 Posts

Has 4 years experience.

I was going to say you could always go to PICU/peds CICU but if its the stress thats getting to you maybe not. There is normal newborn, mother/baby etc, and really with nursing you can always get into other areas its just a matter of how hard you pursue it, even in NICU with only baby experience you would have assessment skills, time management, confidence talking with doctors/families etc


120 Posts

Specializes in NICU/Subacute/MDS. Has 1 years experience.

You could use your NICU knowledge in Peds, Couplet care or Labor and Delivery. In any case you would still need additional training as NICU is quite specialized.


827 Posts

Specializes in pediatrics, public health.

If you want to do public health nursing, there's also NICU graduate follow-up programs.

ijuanabhappy, ASN, RN

1 Article; 381 Posts

Specializes in School Nursing. Has 10 years experience.

Public health nursing is really where I always saw myself. I wasn't really sure how to go about getting into public health nursing. So a NICU background would be good for this?


362 Posts

Specializes in ICU, PICU, School Nursing, Case Mgt. Has 18 years experience.

I have worked in many specialties over many years. ICU's ( adult, Picu, and Nicu) Tele, Step down, ER, Trauma, Hospice and I honestly feel that NICU is THE most HIGHLY specialized unit of them all (of course, the OR may be more specific) and I don't feel that it translates too well into the other sure hone your IV those little guys are just so very different from healthy newborns. especially the "micro preemies" and with the blazing advancements in technology there are more and more of those. When I left NICU in 2005 we had some 22 weekers in there. It was getting a little hard for me to take by then and I had to leave.

I really LOVED PICU...and I felt that it translated to other specialties well.

Children heal very quickly (much faster than adults) and it's so gratifying to watch. I truley saw many miracles in PICU days, too many to count.

You might want to try PICU or PEDS..that would lead right into the public sector.



241 Posts

Specializes in PICU, ICU, Transplant, Trauma, Surgical. Has 4 years experience.

NICU is really its own world compared to all other units in the hospital. I did NICU as a new grad for 2.5 yrs before getting bored and switching to PICU. I just didn't find NICU challenging anymore (it was at first though!). Switching to PICU was difficult, not gonna lie. The kids are much more sick and have so many comorbidities. NICU has the same type of patients, all time time (hence, why I got bored...) and everywhere else has a HUGE array of disease processes and comorbidities.

I must say I was able to "hone" my assessment and critical thinking skills very well in NICU, so that was a huge plus. Another plus, it's easy to switch specialties in nursing! I would recommend giving it atleast a year though so it doesn't look bad on your resume. Best of luck!


827 Posts

Specializes in pediatrics, public health.
Public health nursing is really where I always saw myself. I wasn't really sure how to go about getting into public health nursing. So a NICU background would be good for this?

There are certain types of public health nursing for which NICU is an excellent background. Many states have programs where "high risk" newborns are visited in the home by a PHN after they come home from the hospital. Many of these babies (sometimes all, depending on how the scope of the program is defined) are NICU "graduates". The PHN helps the parents to adjust to caring for their baby at home, visits periodically for the first year or two of life, takes the baby's weight and length to make sure they're growing ok, talks to the parents about any feeding issues or any health issues that come up, helps with referrals to specialists if needed, etc.

Another example -- I work for a program that coordinates the health care of foster children in the 0-5 age range. We just recently hired a NICU nurse -- between her NICU experience and my peds experience, we have our kiddos pretty well covered (at least I hope so!).

To get into public health nursing, most states require that you have a BSN, with coursework that included a community health nursing class. In CA where I live, you submit paperwork to show you meet this requirement, and they give you the PHN certificate. Once you have it, you never have to renew it, as long as you keep your RN license current.

PHNs generally work for state or local governments, so look at employment listings for government agencies in your area. Given the current economy, many places are cutting back, but some places do still have openings -- it'll vary from place to place.

Good luck!