new graduate entering the NICU


Greetings and salutations... I am a fresh graduate, (well, I will be in a week and a half) and I have been hired on to the NICU at a hospital near where I live. I had a few questions regarding continuing education once I am in the work environment. I am wondering what specific certifications I should be pursuing and I am curious as to everyone's opinion about just pushing on for my bachelors while I am working vs. waiting a bit and tackling it later. Thank you for your responses.


NeoNurseTX, RN

1,803 Posts

Specializes in NICU Level III.

I see no reason to wait on your bachelor's. I know a lot of bedside nurses doing RN-BSN programs right after they got their associate's and started as a GN.

Classes to take would be STABLE and NRP but those should be offered on your unit and wouldn't be expected as a new grad on their first job.


23 Posts

Specializes in Maternal / Infant Nursing.

Ditto here Max! I graduate in 2 weeks and I start in a NICU about an hour away and I am thrilled. I plan to get NRP certified pretty quickly because my unit requires that by 6 months of hire. I am not sure what STABLE is but I will research it. I am also looking into doing my RN-BSN. I think I will wait 6mo to begin that so I can get adjusted to my new schedule and get my NRP done. There are so many online programs as well as programs on campus that are hybrid so most of your classes are online but you may have to go to campus one day a week.

Good luck in your journey and the wonderful decision you have made! Always continue learning! :caduceus:


23 Posts

hi :) congratulations!

NRP, STABLE, cardiac STABLE. I would suggest a NICU book...I have many, however a really really great book with bullet points, is Comprehensive Neonatal Nursing, ISBN-13: 978-0721603940 This is a great book that is recommended by NANN. I joined this my first year, and has many resources :)

Learn the drugs used in your unit, make flash cards if you can. Always use your neo fax or hospital/unit approved drug resource before giving any meds :)

I am sooo excited for you! I am 17 months out of nursing school and love the NICU. I have progressed quite quickly, and am already doing transports, and high risk deliveries. You have to just be a sponge...soak it all in, dont be afraid...and can always ask for help, you are never alone :)

By the way...Stable is a class taught for mosly level II nurseries who need to stabalize a baby before a transport team gets there....Sugar Temp Airway Blood pressure Labs and Emotional support if you are so interested :)

And the cardiac stable is some of the above, but with a focus on stabalizing the baby with a possible cardiac problem.

You will do incredible....just keep on learning, growing, and looking to your peers for support. Oh, and Max about the soon as you can...once you get working, you get tired me...I am going to go back...there are so many more things there for you, like teaching...if you can go right away, I would highly suggest you do :)

Once you are settled in, a future goal could be to obtain your CCRN specialty certification in the NICU.

God bless,



146 Posts

Specializes in ICN. Has 24 years experience.

Thanks for explaining what STABLE meant, I'd never heard of that--I guess because we transport babies in.

As for what a new nurse would need in the ICN, mostly NRP is required. In our unit, after six months, a nurse can take classes in transport, ECMO, inserting a PICC line and doing head cooling, among others, whenever they are offered. All are free for nurses already working in the ICN.

I have an associate degree and have never gotten a bachelor's. It has not held me back and I've been in the ICN for two decades now.


Breezy Girl

33 Posts

Oh my gosh, how lucky you are! I'm soooo jealous! Congratulations, and good luck! I did a 10 week preceptorship at the NICU, and there's soo much to learn! We spent a great deal of NS working with and learning about adults, I almost had to "unlearn" it to learn all the new things about neonates. But I found all that stuff really interesting, especially all the cardiac issues that babies can have. Enjoy it, I wish I was in your shoes!

Oh, and Isay go for your BSN, you have more opportunities with it. And I think you should start it when you become comfortable working at your unit so you won't be so stressed.

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