I'll be graduating nursing school this fall and have my heart set on the NICU. I have 3 children all of whom were NICU babies. I can't wait to be that special nurse for someone's family like I've had multiple times before. What is your best NICU nurse advise for a new grad? Are there any forums I should follow, books I should read/study, journals I should subscribe to, things I should anticipate, etc. Also, advice on getting hired in the NICU would be great! Thanks in advance.
HI I am an ICU nurse and I started as a Medsurg nurse 10 years ago. I've seen a lot of new grads going to specialty units right away after graduating and it's great but we can't also deny that it's tough...especially if your unit has a lot of experienced nurses and some of them are tired to teach anymore . Unfortunately some of them will even tell our new grads how inadequate they are and they feel bad for patients. That's the sad truth of nursing in the hospital. But that is not the case for everyone. So if you have a strong personality, go to NICU and start your experience! but it would not hurt too if you'll start in a nursery or mother baby floor to get the basics of being a nurse staff in the hospital and get all the credentials then just move to NICU after 6months or 1 year. :-)
also, go to seminars! They're costly but so worth it! Just search for the big hospitals around you and sometimes they have CE seminars that you can attend.
Unfortunately, your options are very limited. The best advice for anyone that is set on a certain specialty is to apply nationwide. With three kids, that is most likely not an option. You are limited to NICUs within driving distance of your home. You are graduating in the fall, so an externship or job in a NICU is also not an option to get in the door. See if you can job shadow a nurse in the NICU. It would at least make you memorable when your resume/application comes across their desk after you graduate.
When you are looking for NICU jobs, make sure you have a new grad residency program. As a NICU new grad you will learn excellent assessment skills, be sure when interviewing ask about the new grad orientation. You will want to make sure you have a strong new grad program. If you want NICU you should do NICU. Try and see if you can get a shadow day in a NICU, or a shadow morning. I started off as a new grad in the PICU and was very happy. You will learn assessment skills of th place where you start. If you want NICU go for NICU, if you want mother/baby/L&D go for it. You will learn the skills needed to thrive in those areas. Going from one speciality to another can be difficult, i.e Med/Surg to NICU, L&D to NICU, or others. Each area has a speciality, specific assessment skills, and pace.
Good luck to you in whichever area you choose.
Sorry to say this but some of the worst people I worked with in NICU were those who had given birth to nicu babies.They had such a chip on their shoulder and took everything that was done,said,opined very personally.
Try to remember you do not know everything ,while it is good background as far as having experienced a nicu from a parent's point of view,you are now a nurse with far greater responsibility to the unit and co workers.Hold onto your shirt when the urge to be opinionated strikes.Be helpful,try to learn as much as you can.It is a great area to work in with its own rewards.Remember you got the chance to bring your babies home,not everyone has that blessing.Good luck to you.
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