Okay, I haven't even been accepted to school yet for my BSN (I can't start school for 2 more years due to my military commitment), but I'm trying to get all my "ducks in a row" to ensure I'm as marketable as possible. I already meet all the minimum requirements for the local advanced BSN program (16 months for those already with a Bachelor's degree) except for 2 more pre-reqs. I am planning on calling the local hospital next week to look into volunteer program in the newborn areas - how much are volunteers allowed to do there? Can I help out in the nursery at all? (Obviously I know there are hospital-specific rules, but I'm just asking in general.)
My ultimate goal is to work in the NICU. I know that more than anything else in this world, that's where I need to be and I'll be most effective. I know I can help those parents and babies both, and reading the "sticky" about why people want to work in the NICU made me cry - I just loved reading all that passion from so many people.
I know that some places want you to work in med/surg first, but what kinds of things could I also do to "better" my chances of going straight to the NICU?
Jun 18, '06
I just want to say good luck to you. Maybe you can contact your local hospital ad let them recommend to you what they think you should do.
Jun 18, '06
I think you're on the right track as far as volunteering. It will allow you to see NICU nurses up close and help to confirm your goal of working there. Some NICU's are pretty hands-off, and you'd likely spend your time assembling paperwork. Others allow their volunteers to feed some of the stable babies and assist with basic infant care, like baths.
Another option is to look into work as a tech. Some NICU's hire people without formal nursing assistant education or other allied health training. Your scope of practice as a tech could vary widely, depending on the facility.
In the end though, any opportunity you have to work in the NICU (direct patient care or not) should serve you well. Just the exposure to the unit and the connections you'll make should give you a leg up for when you do become a nurse.
Dec 7, '06
As a follow-up, I've been volunteering in the Special Care Nursery & NICU for 4 months now, and it's been the most rewarding experience. I mainly cuddle, feed, change diapers, etc.; they don't want to "waste me" by just doing paperwork/laundry/etc. Plus I get to see the stuff the nurses are doing and ask questions and everything. I absolutely love it. Two more classes to go that I didn't take with my first BA degree, and I can apply to the acc BSN program. Yay!
I am absolutely convinced the NICU is the place for me. Those kids are amazing, and I love working with the same kids each week and seeing the progress.
Dec 13, '06
I'm kind of in the same boat as you are, but I'll be finishing up school here in just a few months. During the time that I've spent in the NICU as a student, I've talked with the nursing manager about what I can do to help my chances of getting a job after I graduate. She recommended taking an NRP course and a 1st 18 hour course. In addition, one of my instructors pointed out that joining a professional organization like NANN could really help.
Dec 14, '06
We would never recommend doing an NRP class...that is something we do for our new people at the end of their orientation. I think that it would be hard to do an NRP course with no basic skills. We don't look at anything like that.
If your hospital takes volunteers on the floor, go for it! We used to take seniour nursing students, but they put the kabash on that for some reason. More than likely because they could only function as and LPN could and we were doing everything anyways. But it was so nice to have someone that could feed those kids when we were busy!
L4R......I have found that with the accelerated BSN students, you may need extra orientation time. I think it is because you have a lot thrown at you, only the really important stuff that the little stuff gets left out, so please don't be shy in asking if they would provide you with extra time if needed. In my experience as a preceptor, instead of the 12 weeks we usually do, accelerated students usually need 14. Just food for thought.
Dec 15, '06
BBG- Thanks for the advice, I'll take as much as I can get. Even though I know I've got a while to go (before I even apply), I'm hoping to ask some of the nurses about their orientation program. The more I know ahead of time, the better.
Dec 15, '06
Quote from MyBSNin06
What is NRP?
Neonatal Resuscitation Program.
AAP - NRP Neonatal Resuscitation Program
I also wouldn't recommend it before someone starts working in the NICU. It just doesn't make as much sense and you don't retain as much knowledge if you take it as a new grad or adult care nurse who hasn't had any NICU exposure. Most hospitals put their new NICU nurses through the NRP program during their orientation period. The first course is about 8 hours long, and renewals are usually 4 hours long. We renew every 2 years. Any nurse, doctor, and respiratory therapist working in NICU or OB needs to have this certification.
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