How do you get "experience" when no one will give you a chance?

  1. I'm hoping that someone can help me understand something. I have recently applied for NICU positions at 2 different hospitals. Both have pretty much told me "you have a very impressive resume, but we are looking for someone with experience."
    Now my question is, how do I get experience when no one will give me a chance. I have 5 years experience, 3 years being in adult ICU. My current supervisor and fellow employees have given me excellent references. What else can I do to "beef" up my resume?


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    About MelRN13

    Joined: Sep '02; Posts: 940; Likes: 18
    Nurse Manager
    Specialty: 9 year(s) of experience in critical care, med/surg


  3. by   llg
    There are many NICU's who hire new grads -- and would love to hire someone with your experience. You might have to move to be closer to one of those units.

    If that is not feasible, ask knowledgable people in your area for advice on how to get the experience you need to move in the direction that you want to move. Speak with the Nurse Recruiters and/or Managers of the NICU's that turned you down. Perhaps local nursing faculty members would be able to offer some good suggestions.

    Another thought is to seek "related" experience. For example, work in a level II nursery, mother-baby unit, or pediatric facility might be a productive route to take -- particularly if it is in the same hospital system in which you wish to work as a NICU nurse.

    It might be that these particular NICU's have had problems retaining RN's who transfer from adult nursing. That's not uncommon. People think they would like to work with babies, but find the transition from adult ICU to NICU to be too difficult and stressful. The cultures between the 2 are vastly different, and for many successful adult nurses, it feels as if the "rug has been pulled out from undernearth them." They come to NICU, but leave within 6 months because they "just don't feel comfortable." By getting related experience in the perinatal and/or peds area, you might be able to demonstrate that you can make that transition successfully.

    Of course, that's not true for everyone. Some people have no problems with the transition. But having coordated NICU orientations for many years, I have seen many adult ICU nurses struggle with it. The NICU's you are applying to may be leery for that reason. ... But that's just a guess on my part.

  4. by   doularoz
    I would definately get some mother/baby experience. I'm not opposed to hiring inexperienced NICU nurses (we all had to start somewhere). You might have better luck finding a job in maternity as a transition job. I actually does help to have a good feel for normal newborns and their transitional problems before you focus on sick infants. Also, maybe you could ask to shadow in the NICU. Let them get to know you and vice versa. I started working per diem in my hospitals NICU before I got hired. I was a postpartum and nursery nurse also. I not only got feed my NICU cravings but they got to know me. Good Luck
  5. by   rentina
    Some hospitals will once in awhile offer NICU training so look out for those opportunities.