A New Grad's Dilemma

  1. Hello everyone, I figured I would pose this situation to the All Nurses community and see what everyone thinks about my situation and what I should do.

    So here is the scenario, I am a young nurse who recently graduated (Spring 2011) and out of school the only RN position I was offered was in Pedi/Adolescent Psych which I have been doing since Sept. 2011. Prior to this I worked as a CNA/Tech in a Pediatric ER (a job I loved but there were no positions available for me when I graduated). The psych. hospital I work at now is a part of the same healthcare organization as my previous hospital so my seniority transferred (another reason why I took the job.) Let me say that I like my new job now, my co-workers and management are great, I'm definitely learning a lot, the hours and scheduling is pretty good and it's a fairly low-stress job but I know that psych nursing isn't where my heart is set for the long term. I don't get the same rush of excitement that I used to get from my old job, I love being a nurse but this setting just isn't that exciting for me.

    So here is why I posted this on the NICU forum, while psych. nursing hasn't been my dream I have always wanted to be a NICU nurse. I do realize that I am amongst a HUGE number of people who want to be a NICU nurse and the fact that I don't have any related nursing experience puts me a disadvantage. I honestly don't know what to do in order to break into this area of nursing, there is one hospital in my area (about 1 hour away) that has an 80 bed, Level III NICU but is very difficult to get into (you basically have to be a current employee and then transfer from a Mother-Baby unit to get in.) I am looking into bigger cities up to 2 hours away (that's as far as I could travel) and I do see opportunities but I don't know what I should do. I don't want to leave my current job yet because I just started not that long ago and I don't want to be seen as "using them" until I can get something better. And yet I'm afraid that if I wait too long in this position I will be marked permanently as a "Psych Nurse" and not be seen as a potential candidate for a NICU position.

    I realize that this is a very long post but what I am basically trying to find out is this...

    1. As a new grad. nurse with less than 1 year of experience (inpatient psych.) what should I do in order to better my chances at getting a NICU position?
    2. At what point should I be trying to actively pursue a NICU nurse position?

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    About cjcsoon2bnp, BSN, MSN, RN, NP

    Joined: Jul '05; Posts: 1,202; Likes: 1,563
    ED NP and Clinical Instructor; from US
    Specialty: Emergency Nursing


  3. by   Bortaz, RN
    There's no time like the present. If you find job openings, apply for them. IMO, you shouldn't spend precious years in a field you dislike at the expense of the field you love. Go for it.
  4. by   awheat
    A nurse I graduated with went to ICU, then after a year transitioned to a NICU position at another hospital - that may be the route you should try. Good Luck!
  5. by   Backtoyou2011
    I would apply now! My hospital hired me as a new grad into the NICU. I think it really all depends on the job market in your area. Everything within the NICU is so specific and unlike anything I learned in school, so I received a very good orientation. In addition, most educators will always take in account your past experience and help tailor your orientation. Some fields that would help to try of you have a passion but can't quite get our foot in the door is any pediatric unit or some mother baby or special care nursery experience. Good luck, Nicu is a wonderful place, I couldn't see myself doing anything different.
    Last edit by Backtoyou2011 on Jan 4, '12 : Reason: Autocorrect
  6. by   babyNP.
    I'm actually going to disagree and say that you should wait at least a year to show that you're not job hopping. Plus what would the nurse manager think about you being barely off orientation and essentially wasting all that hospital resource dollars that went into training you--will you do it with the NICU? You can't tell that NM for certain that NICU is the place you'll do as your career for years and years; no one really can until they actually experience it.

    A true new grad is different because they haven't demonstrated that they will bounce around, but you are now between a rock and a hard place, being a new grad with some experience, but less than one year.
  7. by   Jolie
    I agree with baby rn's advice and would like to suggest another avenue.

    Applying for a job is not the only way to get one's foot in the door, and in this economy with an overload of nurses seeking employment, many with far more experience than you, it is probably not the most effective way.

    I suggest you make a concerted and sincere attempt to get to get aquainted with a NICU nurse manager via networking. It is not difficult to find out names and e-mail addresses of unit managers. Send e-mails to a few NICU managers in your area requesting the opportunity to learn more about the NICU via an "informational interview." If accepted, go to the interview (which is NOT a job interview, but an educational experience) well prepared with questions about desired qualifications, work environment, orientation, educational opportunities, volunteer opportunities etc. Plan to tour the unit. Present yourself to the manager and staff in the best possible light, so that when a position opens, they will keep you in mind. Send a gracious thank you note and occasionally keep in touch. If you know for certain that no one is hired directly into the NICU, consider forging this relationship with a mother baby manager instead.

    As a practical matter, please reconsider applying to units 2 hours away, unless you plan to relocate. Commutes of that length never work out well, and often doom one's dream job by adding fatigue and unsafe driving conditions into an already stressful mix of starting a new job.

    Remember, you have a job that you seem to enjoy, which is a rarity, if you read this board much. While I admire your determination to get into the NICU, please don't jeapordize your current good standing by making a rash, or ill-advised change. Good luck to you.