Opinions/information needed


I'm a nursing student interested in NICU and in eventually going to NNP school. I've applied for two different "scholarships" with local hospitals. They're the kind with post-grad work requirements so I can't take both. Whichever one I take I'd work there for 2 years after graduation. If I only get one, that'll be easy, but if I get both...

One is a university children's hospital. It's got a Level 3 NICU. The other is a community hospital that is starting a $60 million women/children center including a brand new NICU. I don't know for sure, but I think that it will be a Level 2.

The community hospital had a lady meet with me and she talked to me for about an hour and helped me with all the paperwork and application. She also said that she manages the scholarship funds and for example, if she sees the year ending and knows you have unspent money, she'll call you and help you find a way to spend it (say on a new stethascope or something for use after gradaution). Overall, she was very helpful and very nice! She also said that she loves the idea of me going into NICU (she said a male NICU nurse is a recruiter's dream because she could see me being a great resource for dads, which is something I'm very interested in!) and she would do everything possible to get me a NICU position after graduation.

The university hospital on the other hand...the recruiters don't return my emails, I have had to email secretaries to get answers...they don't seem terribly interested in helping me. I've heard some negative things about this hospital, but I don't know anything about the children's hospital, just the adult areas. I know the adult areas are older and "run-down" while the children's hospital is nice and kept in much better shape, so I don't know if the nurses there have it better or not. I've also heard from people that work there that Nurse Recruitment won't really work to get you placed in the unit you want, you're more or less on your own to contact managers and set up interviews.

So, I'm concerned that the university hospital might leave me stuck in a med-surg unit instead of the NICU (or at least PICU or an adult ICU) and/or that it might be a bad environment in general. However, if I want to go to NNP school, don't I need to be in a Level 3 NICU? How much would you weigh that? Would it be better to start someplace where I might not get the Level 3 experience, but would get an environment where people are going to help me learn?

If anyone has advice, I'm all ears! The hospitals in question are in Central KY if you've got any experience there, that'd be helpful!



suzanne4, RN

26,410 Posts

NNP programs want to see Level 3 care at the minimum, if not even a higher level. Level 2 is not going to get you the experience that they want to see. I would check with the community facility and find out exactly the type of patients that they will be getting.

And the other thing to think about is if you have experience in that facility, you can always work extra hours at an NICU with a higher category and that should help you.

But select a facility that will give you the best orientation. And there are programs where you do not go to Med-Surg first, but straight to the NICI as a new grad. Have you actually spoke to the Nurse Manager in the NICU at the university hospital? Definitely would do that before making any decision, as you would need to interview with them before you could even be given a position in that unit. Same thing for the new hospital unit as well. HR does not make the final decisions, they are usually there as a screener tool for the manager.

Best of luck to you.


77 Posts

Specializes in NICU.

Having been recruited to help upgrade a level II to a level III, as well as in a brand new level II, I would suggest avoiding this situation as a new grad. A more stable environment would be better. Starting as a new grad is stressful enough without entering an environment undergoing change and / or everything is new for everyone else, too. As stated before, if you want to go into a NNP program you need level III experience. Call the unit and talk with the nurse manager. I've found recruiters to be notorious at dropping the ball, so slow you find another job before they ever get around to you, or not sending a name to the manager who actually wanted to hire the person.

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