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NICU job offers...which one?!?!

NICU   (2,358 Views 18 Comments)
by lilbug lilbug (Member) Member

lilbug specializes in NICU.

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My dream came true this week!!! I have always wanted to be a NICU nurse and now I will be!!! I was offered a job in the NICU at my #1 choice of hospitals!!! I am very excited! The interview process was very very very long (3 months from applying to getting an offer!!) and I was so anxious to get an offer, when the nurse recruiter called, I said I wanted to work there. She said she would be sending me a letter soon with all the info in it about hours, salary, etc. I'm assuming this is something I will sign and return to make the offer official????

However, the next day I had an interview at another hospital clear across the state and decided it was rude to cancel the day before so I went anyways. So of course today, the day after that interview, I got another offer in that NICU!!!! I informed the recruiter that I have another offer from my home area and would like a few days to think it over. After all, it is a big move in that I will have to relocate 4 hours away with my fiance in tow as well! She understood so now I have until Tues to call her back.

Now I am torn! Do I stay with the first offer or go for the 2nd? There are so many pros and cons, I don't know what to do! The first hospital I will be doing my senior practicum in the NICU step-down unit so I will be able to learn about the hospital, charting, etc. The pay is GREAT for a new grad though it is salary, I have to work 40 hours/week, not 36, and it is a 2 weeks days and 2 weeks nights rotation (2 8-hr shifts and 2 12-hr shifts). The hospital is also great, one of the best children's hospitals in the country....as well as their NICU. They are getting a new high-tech NICU next summer/fall. Also it is only about an hour away from home now. I would still move but will be close to friends/family.

The 2nd hospital is not a children's hospital but is noted for its L&D and NICU. I loved the NICU but the overall hospital I didn't like as much...much diff from the hospitals at home. The NICU is unique, larger than the first hospital and continuing to add more beds but does not keep any surgical babies such as GI surgeries, heart, etc. They say they have a top rated NICU but haven't found any stats yet. The starting pay (hourly) is lower, but they do offer shift diff which makes it similar to the first. The offer is a nights only shift, 36 hours/week. Also, after my 12 week preceptorship/orientation, I can agree to work nights for 2 years and get paid a bonus throughout the 2 years. So after my 12 wk orientation, I can make $2 more/hr than hospital #1. I would also have to relocate 4 hours from home...though I have no problem moving!!!

Which do I chose? Is it wrong to turn down the 1st hospital...I did just get the offer 3 days ago. I think that the 1st hospital would help my career if I decide to move out of state someday because it is rated among the top children's hospitals in the country so that may look good to future employers. However, I would love to move to the 2nd hospital because of better weather and a new fresh start. I also liked that although the 2nd hospital was interviewing tons of people, the nurse mgr wanted me and called me the next day...they are also letting me have 1st pick between 2 job options (though both nights). She was very helpful during the interview such as giving me insight as to what areas are best to live in and I could tell she saw my drive for NICU and potential. I also like that she is very involved in orientation, adds many components to it, re-orients people again like 6 months after hire and provides a mentor after the 12 week preceptor, however I worry if I will be able to do all nights. Or would the rotating days/nights at hospital #1 be too much? I love hospital #1 as well though!!!

I am so confused! I think I should stay with offer #1 and stay close to home but part of me says to move and venture out to a new city! Sorry this is so long. Any advice would be great!!!!

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cherokeesummer specializes in OBGYN, Neonatal.

739 Posts; 7,338 Profile Views

Sounds like most things are pointing to the first one...I'd say unless you have a really really strong reason to go to the second one, stick with the first.

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7 Posts; 826 Profile Views

One thing that I noticed was that job #1 was a 2 week day, 2 week night shift. I think that would be really hard to do. I had my orientation on that same schedule and I could never sleep. (2-3 hours of intermittent, less than restful sleep) I went to the Dr. to get on a sleep aid and he said you cant do that kind of thing to your body. You need to choose day shift or night shift and stick with a routine so your body can get used to it. He said something about the Human growth hormone, the times it peaks and how many different things it can effect.

Well...this is just my story but I hope it helps.

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6,372 Posts; 34,592 Profile Views

The offer from the first hospital sounds much better for a number of reasons, the most important one being that you are already familiar with the environment and KNOW that you like it. 2 dollars an hour difference may seem like a lot of money to a cash-starved college student, but in the long run, it really isn't, and won't make up for any dissatisfaction you may experience over going to work at a relatively "unknown" hospital a long way from home.

I agree with the above poster though, that 2 weeks of day/night rotation is simply un-doable and should not even be tried. I worked that schedule for a few months as a young 20-something with no children or other commitments, and it made me miserable both physically and mentally. I would never do it again, nor would I advise anyone to try it.

I suggest that you go back to hospital #1 and request a straight schedule, either full days, evenings or nights. If they can make that accomodation, I would take that job, if not, I would keep looking.

Best of luck to you and congratulations on your offers!

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MK6babies specializes in hopefully NICU!.

24 Posts; 1,058 Profile Views

first one definatley. the pay is better, it is closer, and the hospital its better.

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lilbug specializes in NICU.

45 Posts; 1,632 Profile Views

Thanks for the advice! Yes this is a very hard decision as you can tell. When it comes down to it, I am really wondering how the 2 weeks days/2 weeks nights will effect me...my health, my sanity, being sleep deprived! I do know that I would not be able to change that shift at this 1st hospital. That is the only shift they really have....i guess to make it fair to everyone so no one get stuck days or nights.

That is what makes hospital #2 so more attractive. Not that I want to work nights....I'm quite afraid to actually because I do have a hard time staying up with all-nighters in the past during school, but I guess it will be different considering I will get used to it. And actually, I will be working nights at both hospitals, it just depends on if I want a rotating shift or just nights...and that I would work 4 days/nights at hospital #1 versus 3 nights at hospital #2. However, after I work for a year at hospital #1, I can change to 3 12-hrs which would make the day/night rotation a little easier. Also, although the pay will be better in the long run at hospital #2 , it won't be at first. During my orientation I will work days and nights to get a more well-rounded experience meaning no shift diff on days or extra bonus for working nights...so I will be making $1-$4 less each shift for the 1st 12 weeks.

So if i do chose hospital #2, is it wrong to call hospital #1 and tell them I've changed my mind or is that completely rude???? I got the offer a few days ago and haven't received a letter yet that HR will be sending me with the details about the job...and I haven't signed anything yet.

I really don't know what to do. I have a lot of thinking to do this weekend!

But in all, it is exciting getting these job offers and knowing that whatever I decide, I will be a NICU nurse!!!! :D:D:D

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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I would go with the first job, at the Children's Hospital. The rotation schedule is not attractive, but you don't know how you will do with the straight night schedule either. So that doesn't seem reason enough to push you one way or another.

Another thing ... It sounds like that 2nd hospital may be a bit desperate for staff if they hired you so quickly. The delay from the children's hospital may be because they had lots of applicants to consider and were not so desparate and could afford to wait. If it is a top-notch children's hospital, it's reputation is probably well-deserved. There are probably reasons they have such a good reputation .... and you said you weren't crazy about the other hospital across the state. If that manager were to leave, you could be stuck with someone representative of the rest of the hospital (which does not appeal to you.)

The close-to-home job sounds like a safer bet for a first job. Then, if it doesn't work out, you can always reconsider the 2nd choice across the state. You can easily say, "I thought I should stick close to home as a new grad, but I feel confident now and am ready to move further from home now." That won't sound bad and should not hurt your chances in the future.

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lilbug specializes in NICU.

45 Posts; 1,632 Profile Views

Thanks "llg" for the feedback!!!!

Actually, I got the opposite impression from hospital #2 about the hiring so quickly. NICUs are difficult to get into as a new grad in general, and this one was overflowing with babies it was currently adding more beds to meet the needs, hence hiring more nurses! The mgr was actually interviewing another girl before me and had an entire stack of applications to go through when she was searching for my app. During the interview, she expressed she was very interested in hiring me because she really liked my passion for NICU, willingness to learn, and strong educational background (having another degree on top of nursing). And I'm sure she knew I was interviewing at other places and wanted to offer me a position first if possible.

I do agree that if she were to leave, I might not like it as much...who knows. I can't base a job just from the impression I got from the nurse mgr. But I do think having someone who believes in you and is supportive is a great asset. I guess what I am saying is that while hospital #1 seems like the more logical and safe choice, I feel I would be more welcome and supported rather than "just another new grad" at the other one.

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llg has 40 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

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Now, it's starting to sound as if your "heart" is already set on hospital #2. If that the case ... you might just have to follow it or risk always wondering "What if...?"

That's OK, as long as you are prepared to take the bigger risk that comes with moving. How does your fiance feel about it all? It's his life, too. This is a decision you should be making as a couple.

I''ve moved many times (lived in 10 different states) either to attend school or for a particular job opportunity. I'm certainly not against moving across the state for a good job. However, I also know that it can cause changes in relationships and can be lonely at times. It can also be financially expensive. If you have taken all that stuff into consideration and your heart still says job #2 is the one that is right for you, then go for it.

Good luck,

llg

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lilbug specializes in NICU.

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llg, you make a REALLY good point. This is a decision my fiance and I need to make together...and you are right that it will be lonely since we won't know anyone and family and friends will be 4 hours away.

The thing is, I feel as if he is pushing towards moving away. I am thinking reasonably and think it would be best if we stay close to home. He is in school, getting an associates right now and has a good job. But to him, he thinks he can go to school anywhere and work anywhere. He just doesnt like his job right now among other things and wants to move away to "start fresh." He says staying here is being reasonable while moving would be good for his sanity. I don't think he should be transferring schools right now, he's 1/2 way done! Plus it would be from a semester school to a quarters school...don't know how that would work credit transfer wise. And moving away because he is having issues with work and family won't solve anything!!! Overall, he will go wherever I go. I just dont want to move for the wrong reasons.

I definetly feel staying here would be great and probably the best for him, me and us together. I love the hospital here and feel I would learn a lot because there is a variety of patients, including surgical which the other hospital doesn't have. However, I do like what I said previously about hospital #2...It is nice to know that someone is really interested in hiring me because they believe in my potential...and that means a lot.

I think I should play it safe and stay close to home..... I will let you all know what I decide!! THANKS AGAIN!!!! :)

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6,372 Posts; 34,592 Profile Views

Have you asked for the opportunity to shadow nurses in each unit?

I understand that you are eager to make a commitment to an employer, but as a former nurse manager, I can assure you that HR and the NMs of these units are far more interested in a solid, committed employee than a quick answer on a position that you will probably not start for several weeks yet. If you take a position, utilize tens of thousands of dollars in training, and then leave because the position isn't a good fit, it won't make the nurse manager feel any better because you gave her a quick answer when the job was offered. Far better to take a little time to thoroughly investigate the offers and units so that you will stay with the job you choose initially. The job that you turn down will be promptly filled by another candidate, so don't worry about leaving an employer without coverage if you ultimately decline an offer.

You are familiar with the unit at the Children's Hospital, but don't really know much about the other NICU. For that reason, I think it is especially important that you request a shadow day, and ask to speak to a few relatively new hires who started there as new grads. What is the ratio of experienced nurses (2 years or more on that unit) to newbies? If there are less than 50% experienced nurses on any given shift, RUN like the wind! It is not possible to learn the complexities of NICU care without a sufficient number of experienced nurses to mentor you and your fellow orientees. What is the average length of service of the nurses on the unit? If it is less than 3-5 years, I would be concerned that many employees leave relatively soon after hire and would want to know why. Why are they hiring so many new staff at once? There may be a need due to expansion, but does that explain all of the openings?

I would strongly urge you to consider contacting the NMs or HR and ask for a deadline by which they need your answer. Explain tactfully that you are comparing offers and want to make the best choice so that you may develop a long-lasting relationship with your employer. That will be well received, in my opinion.

Good luck!

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lilbug specializes in NICU.

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Jolie, thank you so much for your advice. I agree with you completely! I want to chose a job that I will be happy with and want to stay at for a long time...that is my plan.

Hospital #1, the children's hospital, interviewed me in 2 steps. First interview with tour of unit then a came back another day to shadow. They require shadowing in the interview process...which was nice because it was the first level 3 NICU I ever shadowed. Hospital #2 does not require shadowing, however, I was given a tour. While it would have been nice to shadow, I did get somewhat of a feel for the atmosphere and staff. Also, I have shadowed as part of job interviews or clinicals quite a few NICUs/Special Care Nurseries so I didn't feel it hindered me too much. Hospital #1 wins this one.

In regards to staffing, Hospital #1 seems like it is always hiring. I addressed this during the interview and the mgr said most of the people they lose is due to returning to school, moving, having families, or going to part time or PRN to have families. I do not graduate for another 10 weeks so my position won't start until sometime in Oct. I know they will have a large influx of new grads this summer as they always do and there will probably be me and a couple others starting in the fall most likely. From my observation, there was a decent amount of younger nurses/newer grads (1yr exp). Hospital #2 is only hiring due to high census and current expansion of the unit by adding 8 more beds. I believe they have a few starting this summer and when I interviewed, the mgr had 2 spots left. She knows I don't graduate until the end of Aug and wants to hire the right person rather than hire asap for census purposes. Again, I prob won't start till middle-end of Oct. She said I can take my time moving here after boards instead of rushing here and starting the next day! Also, from what I was told, the unit used to make up nurses who had been there for 20-30 years. And actually when I was touring the unit, one nurse said she had been there for 20 years. However, she wanted to bring in younger staff for variety. She has been hiring new grads here and there but said that about 50% of the people she personally has hired have been from accelerated programs so most are older, have had other careers, etc. I think hospital #2 wins this one.

I have also met and talked to some nurses on allnurses who work at both places and they both seem to enjoy their jobs.

So again, don't know which to chose! I would love to go back to #2 to shadow but my schedule simply doesn't allow it right now because of school and travel time. So I would be choosing this unit based off of interviewing and touring versus #1 in which I spent time interviewing and shadowing. I keep going back and forth between them. I need to decide if I should stick with #1 which is a safer choice because it is close to home, large variety of patients including surgical pts, and a great hospital with lots of new grads or #2 which I didn't get to shadow, is far form home, but feel I would be treated better as a new nurse with extensive training and support from the mgr. This is so frustrating!!!!!

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