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How can a tele RN get into the nicu?

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Hi! I am currently a med surg tele RN and would love to transition into the nicu! I've been a nurse for 1.5 years and I feel burnt out already. I dread going into work and am just completely over dealing with my ungrateful, angry, confused, combative patients. It's emotionally draining on me. I feel so depressed all the time. As such, I have been applying to countless transition/new grad nicu programs and they always reject my application. Can someone please help? What am I doing wrong?

Side note: I have my nrp certificate and I've tried countless times to apply to the nicu at my hospital but they keep telling me they need someone with nicu experience but to keep trying because some of their senior nurses may be retiring soon (it's been a year and a half now of this) 😞

adventure_rn, BSN

Specializes in NICU, PICU.

Have you considered applying to peds or mom/baby jobs? That would give you experience which is more pertinent to NICU, and could make you a more competitive NICU applicant once you gain some experience.

The thing about NICUs (or any unit) is that you never know what the staffing/hiring situation looks like from the inside. It sounds like the unit at your hospital is well-staffed with low turnover, but that can always change.

I once worked in a NICU that was terribly short-staffed and it was very easy to get hired without experience. At the time, we had a ton of travelers. The hospital was bought by another system that didn't allow travelers, so the unit gave our travelers enormous signing bonuses to become staff; coincidentally, our census dropped way off. Suddenly, we were terribly over-staffed, forcing several people on call every shift, and we ended up with a year-long hiring freeze. In the course of just six months, we went from hiring tons people without experience to not hiring anybody (including experienced NICU nurses).

My point is that as an applicant, you just don't know what the staffing situation is internally. It sounds like the manager has told you that positions may open up once these experienced nurses retire, so if you want to stay at your hospital, you may have to just wait it out.

I know you say you've sent out a bunch of applications, but you could try casting an even wider net. If you keep applying more and more places, you'll eventually find one that short-staffed enough that they're willing to hire nurses without NICU experience. Once you gain NICU experience, you can move back to whatever hospital you want. If you're willing to relocate now, you'll have a lot more options later.

@adventure_rn Thank you so much for the advice! I'll keep my eyes open and continue applying 🙂