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Per Diem NICU job as a Peds PCU Nurse?

NICU   (309 Views 4 Comments)
by 2019RNBSN2019 2019RNBSN2019, BSN, RN (New Member) New Member

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I am a Pediatric Progressive Care Unit nurse at a children’s hospital in my area. Most of the children on my floor are trached/vented patients that are stable enough to leave the NICU/PICU but not ready to go home or to a facility yet. The population tends to be younger children (6 months-24 months) that were born extremely premature with congenital defects. Our focus is on weaning patients and educating families about how to care for the vents at home. I love my job but wanted to pick up a few extra shifts here and there as a per diem somewhere but was wondering if it was possible to do this in a NICU or SCN since I’m not trained as a NICU nurse. My hospital has a Level IV NICU. I would love to get some NICU experience as this is my dream specialty to get into but am unsure if this would even be possible. Any input or advice would be greatly appreciated!

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NICU Guy has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

3,369 Posts; 31,400 Profile Views

I doubt you can pick up a prn job in the NICU. While you have experience in trached/vent kids, you don't have experienced with preemies and babies that are pre-surgery or fresh post-op. You would need weeks of full-time training before allowed to do prn. 

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adventure_rn is a BSN and specializes in NICU, PICU.

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You couldn't go PRN (it's nearly impossible if you're already working full-time at the current facility), but there's a small possibility that you could pick up shifts if a few parameters are met.

First, do people from your unit regularly float to the NICU when your census is low and theirs is high? If so, they might be used to finding assignments that are 'float-appropriate.' I currently work in a children's hospital where the different peds units float to one another all of the time based on census and staffing, so our charge nurses are used to finding assignments that would work for a peds PCU nurse (i.e. the bigger, more stable kids who are waiting on a bed in your unit).

Second, how often is the NICU short-staffed? They'll be more likely to work with you if their census shoots up and they're desperate. In contrast, if they're overstaffed, it's unlikely.

Assuming those parameters are met, you could ask your manager and the NICU manager if you could get on the NICU OT text list (or however they communicate that they're offering OT shifts). If they're desperate for staff, I'm guessing they'd be happy to find an appropriate assignment for you, as they would with any float. It wouldn't be terribly predictable, and you'd have to be available last-minute, but it might suit your needs.

Unless the NICU is chronically, severely understaffed, it's unlikely that they'd approve a conventional 'per diem' role if you're full-time, since the extra shifts would put you into OT every time you work.

I do have to ask: if your end goal is NICU, why not just ask for a lateral transfer into the NICU?

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NICUmiiki has 4 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in NICU.

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Our 'per diem' nurses (contract) have years of NICU experience. And there is a list of current nurses waiting on PRN spots to open.

My unit would never resort to using a peds nurse. We don't even have travelers currently.

Edited by NICUmiiki

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