NICU or Nursery 1st???


Hello......I'm a May 2003 graduate looking forward to work in the NICU after graduation........I was adviced to start off in the nursery so that I should get the feel of how normal babies are, opposed to starting off in a NICU.......Could a NICU nurse shed some lite of if this advice would be beneficial for me?.....Thanx.........


62 Posts

The facility I was at as a new grad had a well baby nursery. So I spent 2 weeks in newborn learning how to assess a well baby normal parameters. Then I spent 2 weeks in our transitional nursery learning about feeder/growers. Then the rest of my 12 weeks of orientation was spent in the NICU with one preceptor and learned everything my head would hold. If you are still unsure see if you can shadow a NICU nurse to see what they do during their shift!!! GOOD LUCK!!!!


6 Posts

DSTOUT-RN.........this is a little off the subject, but I'll be moving back home (Louisville, KY) next May after graduation (BSN, RN)and I was wondering what hospital in louisville had this great of a NICU orientation......the NICU is where I have to be, but since I haven't lived in louisville for five years, I know nothing of their hospitals and the NICU's in the area..........ANY help here would be greatly greatly appreciated ..thanks, Tanya


62 Posts

This orientation is at University of Louisville Hospital. Its a Level 3 NICU. Also during orientation time you spend "class time" with the NICU educator learning about NICU disorders, lab values and ABG's. I really felt prepared when I finished my orientation, U of L uses the mentorship model for orientation, so once you finish orientation your preceptor becomes a mentor so you are not left to sink just because orientation is over. Many of the nurses that are preceptors have over 10 years of experience and thrive on teaching new nurses that are EAGER to learn! GOOD LUCK!! :roll


6 Posts

thanks so much for the info ;)


89 Posts

I work in nicu and I came to the job used to handling babies. I was glad I had as I found knowing how well babies behave like very useful there are many times when I have just had a feeling something was wrong and been right even when I had just started.

I usually advise our students to get some general experience first you have responsibilty as a nurse but when its sick babies....

Where ever you work I hope you enjoy it half as much as me


5 Posts

From my experience, I think it's better to do well baby first. Learning how to assess what's normal makes what's not more obvious. When you look into a hospital, see what is required of the NICU nurse and the WBN. Do your hospital have NNP's at normal deliveries or just high risk? Does the NICU nurse attend deliveries if the NNP is unavailable? It does help to attend deliveries to see how a baby normally transitions to life. Not every blue baby needs O2 when they come out of the womb. That is where assessment skills come in handy. I have worked with nurses who had no WBN experience and they think all babies have problems, not true.

It helps when you know how to ballard and assign apgars to babies and you will get more experience in well baby land, even in NICU you may have to ballard a 40wker or a 25wker. It's also a good way to learn organization and normal lab values. In our WBN the nurses still can do radial sticks for septic workups, IV's for ATB's, have hyperbili babies, and prn OG feeders. They come over to our land when we are busy and even help out in codes.

So I quess it depends on what position is available in the hospital you apply at. If the hospital has frequent openings and changes staff alot that is a red flag. Our unit has been opened for 12 years and most of us haven't moved. The ones that has have either moved out of town or want to come back because the grass isn't greener on the other side.

Hope this helps in making some career choices and asking questions when on the interview.

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