Where to get good experience for acute care pediatrics?

  1. Hey guys,

    So my ultimate nursing goal for years has been to work at a children's hospital on an inpatient pediatric floor. The hospital I'd love to work with is unfortunately not hiring new grads right now, but the recruiter seemed actively interested in helping me find a position there in the future, after getting some experience under my belt. So I'm back to the drawing board!

    My question is, what kind of experience would be best if I had to choose-- pediatric, or inpatient? I know of a pediatric LTC facility that has taken new grads, and seems like it would give me a lot of experience with acutely ill children. It has a good rating but the recruiter I spoke to at the hospital had not heard of it, so I'm not sure how well known it is. I've also been looking at openings on adult med/surg units at some of the larger hospitals. In my heart I feel that I would be happier at the LTC place; I felt much more passionately about nursing during my pediatric experiences than during my adult med/surg experiences. But I don't want to put myself in a dead end if I don't end up loving it... I'm a little worried about the emotional factor working with such acute kids.

    Do you think it would be better to have the LTC experience with pedi patients, or the hospital experience with adult patients?
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    About NewlyANurse

    Joined: Jul '11; Posts: 31; Likes: 19
    from US
    Specialty: pediatrics (student nurse preceptorship)


  3. by   moonchild20002000
    Well if peds is your passion then do it! I think you might be happier in peds LTC.
    There will be plenty to learn,hopefully you will enough experience to reapply at
    the Children's Hospital. Just my 2cents!
  4. by   NewlyANurse
    Thanks for your input! I'm following up on both, because at this point any job would be a welcome opportunity. But my heart is really leaning toward the LTC place. The more I look into, the more excited I get about it.
  5. by   PediLove2147
    Definetely apply to both! Once you get offers that's when the decisions need to be made.

    Good luck
  6. by   smurfynursey
    I had a deja vu when I was reading this - it was me 2 years ago

    First off, let me tell you a little about me...I had a job at a hospital less than a month after passing boards and it was not the right fit for me. a few months later... I came across a pedi LTC facility and it so happened they were hiring and didn't mind new grads. Thus begineth a peds career for me!

    The pros
    You learn a TON of stuff in a very short period of time. The facility I worked at was 78 beds, 22 trachs and 12/22 were vented at least part time. Prior to this, I never put much thought into where kids on vents went. It was a good learning experiance, and while some of my fellow grads have never delt with a trach, there were times that I had 6 of them in one shift. Also, it teaches you how the kids "live". In a hospital you see kids (normal or otherwise) when they are sick, but LTC you see just how sydrome xyz affects their life on a day to day level.

    I really liked my job at pedi LTC, and, like you, my goal has always been to do inpatient peds. I think you will find the pace to be different...Some nights, I would get there at 11 and with the exception of report, would not sit down until 2 (admittedly, some of this has to do with my time management as a new grad). Others, the kids issues seemed so predictable I could scream. Also...I am a pedi person. I know I would not be happy in any job where I had to deal with adults (It sounds like you are the same or similar)

    The cons
    It really depends on where you apply once you have the experiance as to wheather they see it as valuble. I applied at quite a few places, some were crazy excited I had so much trach and vent experiance, that I could suction and change trach ties in my sleep, and others heard "LTC" and totally shut down. Which is where you have to really work on selling yourself and proving that yes, it was LTC but you did more than crush pills in applesauce (not hating on any geri nurses, i did it for a while and thats what it feels like sometimes)

    As far as the recruiter not knowing the facility, peds LTC is one of those things that if you dont know it you dont know it, its a pretty specialized setting and people that arent familiar with medically fragile kiddos might not even know that such a place exists, regardless of the reputation

    As a suggustion, I would reccomend that you get another job after a few months (if you want). After I had been in my job for a bit I started doing homecare, it was a nice change, similar to what I learned from pedi LTC and new enough to be a challenge. Also, when you are interveiwing for other positions, you can have more enviroments to be comfy in, also shows that you are independant and can make decisions without others around (that scared me a bit at first, but I have grown to looove homecare). Again, just a thought.

    All things considered, I would make the same decision again if I had to. If your heart is with peds, I would say go for it! Good luck with whatever you choose!

    If you have any questions, feel free to PM me.

  7. by   NewlyANurse
    @ smurfynursey,

    Wow, thanks so much for the reply! That's a great point I hadn't thought of, that LTC is how the kids live versus a temporary interruption like an inpatient admission might be. I really like that idea. The floor I did my preceptorship on had a lot of long-term and "frequent flier" kids, and I liked the idea of seeing the same kids and developing a bond with the kids and their families, and to see them outside of the often excessively stressful time they are hospitalized.

    I had thought about homecare, but like you said the idea of being on my own completely is still overwhelming. Did you do that alongside your LTC experience? It does make sense that there would be some overlapping skills, and once I finally get some RN experience in maybe I'll feel more confident about home care.

    Pedi LTC is looking more and more appealing..! I still haven't been able to get in touch with the manager, but I'm going to keep trying (if I leave enough voicemails maybe she'll answer? ). Even if it isn't the ideal experience for that "next step" to inpatient pediatrics, I'm starting to feel like this is something I could really enjoy for itself. I haven't been this excited about any of my job prospects since before the pedi hospital shut me down!
  8. by   smurfynursey
    To answer your question, yes, I did homecare at the same time. The agency I worked for required 6 months of pediatric experiance before they would hire you, and thats exactly what I had, almost to the day. My first case was a vent kid, and once you do pedi LTC you will become quite comfy with them, as they are usually stable (er) than kiddos you would see in LTC.

    Also...is the facility free standing or part of a nursing home (I have worked at both). If its part of a nursing home, when you put it on your resume make sure to put "Sunny Acres PEDIATRIC unit", just so they know Ask if they have respiratory and if they are there 24/7...my facility did NOT have any and while I learned more, it did make things challenging to not have that extra bit of support.

    I would consider going to the facility to fill out an application, then maybe you can see the units a little better how the staff acts, ect... and who knows, maybe you will meet the DON and leave with a job offer. When I had my interview, the DON was like, let me go get something and came back with an I9 and W4 ))

    keep us updated, and if you have questions PM me
  9. by   LoveMyBugs
    I just got hired at a pedi LTC which is assoicated with my states largest hospital system and is located on one of the larger hospital campuses.
    I haven't started on the floor yet, just went through general system orientation for the last 2 days, but I am very excited to start working there. I did pedi home health for 5 months then went to a SNF still am working there full time and will do the pedi job PRN.
    Like you I am hoping that it will either turn into a full time position and I will love it so much I wont have a wandering eye, or that after 6 months to 1.5 years I can finally get hired into one of the 3 children's hospitals in my area.
    One of my friends from NS did pedi home health through a different agency that I did, she stayed longer and did her year of home health and now works full time at a Shriners Childrens hospital and loves it.
    Other than getting an internship with a pedi teaching facility, home health and pedi LTC are the only ways to really get pedi expereince