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Preceptee in Med-surg but wants a career in NICU

Nurses   (4,343 Views 11 Comments)
by NurseJAG NurseJAG (Member)

1,125 Visitors; 18 Posts

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Hi Nurses!

I am currently in my last semester and starting my preceptorship in a couple of weeks. However, I really wanted the NICU for preceptorship but I was unable to land a spot in any NICU out here in the bay area. So i ended up being placed in a adult med-surg floor:crying2: My question is..Will any NICU accept a new grad like me, with preceptorship experience in a adult medsurg ?? Or do only new grads with preceptorships in the NICU have a better chance ? Also how does new grad/employee training go in the NICU ?

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TiffyRN has 26 years experience as a ADN, BSN and specializes in NICU.

15,617 Visitors; 2,247 Posts

Many specialty units across the nation are currently not hiring new grads; let's face it, many hospitals are not hiring any new grads.

NICU's would not want to accept a new grad that had started and either not finished or was just a few months out of orientation from another position. Your potential new manager wants to see that you won't up and leave a few weeks in. They might be more accepting if you had worked really hard at getting the NICU position and that position didn't come open until right after you started your med/surg position.

You are essentially a new grad for at least a year even though you may be out of orientation after a few weeks. Having said that, if you apply to an NICU and they actually hire you, jump ship and go. I'm just saying it's not likely to happen at this point. A few weeks experience in med/surg are not really counted in your favor.

If you finish your orientation/new grad training and stay for at least 1-2 years, an NICU might hire you then, though they would likely want you to do the same orientation as a new grad. I did the full 3 month orientation & classes for NICU even though I had almost 9 years experience in the adult world. And I was thrilled to have that opportunity.

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1,526 Visitors; 56 Posts

Unfortunatly what I have to say is probably not what you would like to hear but I am a May 09 graduate with the same situation. I wanted NICU more than anything and my school decided it was "too specialized" and placed me on an adult med/tele/onco unit. I got great references from the nurses I worked with and clinical instructors and still have not landed a job NICU or otherwise. I have found MOST NICU programs require a preceptorship in PICU or NICU. I do have volunteer experience and decided to go back for my BSN which I just took my last final today :) I would suggest if you can volunteer but apply to everything. Things have to turn around eventually.

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1,868 Visitors; 28 Posts

Colo9740,

I am a May '09 graduate as well. I'm curious, were you able to obtain an RN position while you were also going for your BSN? I ask because I'm wondering what our chances are of getting into any new grad programs now that it's been a year since we graduated? Anybody know?

Gracias!

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Bobbkat specializes in NICU.

6,079 Visitors; 476 Posts

My last semester preceptorship was on a Women's med-surg/gyn-onc floor. I graduated in Dec '09 with my BSN and zero professional experience in NICU, but was able to land a job in a NICU at a major teaching hospital. I begged every person I knew to help me find someone that had worked in the unit to point out my application to the hiring manager. There were hundreds of applicants, so I'm pretty sure that if I hadn't done this my app would have gone unnoticed. I wanted NICU very badly though, so I was definately not above groveling to all of my friends/family/acquaintances I had in a hospital that could potentially introduce me to someone in the unit.

If you really want a NICU position, you may have to move. I'm on the other coast (where jobs are definately NOT plentiful), but from what I've heard things are pretty brutal out in California, and beggers can't be choosers for positions out there. You might want to look at pediatric positions in general to start. If you can't get directly into a NICU to start, working in a related position (like an infant/toddler unit) may help you work your way towards it.

Good luck!

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Mike A. Fungin RN specializes in Trauma ICU, Peds ICU.

11,534 Visitors; 457 Posts

You may find this is a blessing in disguise. If you jump right into a specialty area like NICU, you can find it difficult or impossible to transition to another practice area down the line.

It is not possible as a student to know what you want to do as a nurse. Some people get lucky, their beliefs about what they want work out. You can get a really good idea, but you don't really know if something fits until you've been a practicing RN at it for a year or so.

Rock your med surg preceptorship, try to get one of the scarce bay area positions in an acute care hospital, work your tail off as a new grad and perfect those basic skills, then try to move on to NICU. It'll be easier to get out of it later if you change your mind, and you may well do that.

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2,958 Visitors; 195 Posts

I graduated in Jun '09. NICU was the only RN job I wanted. Our school would not allow us to do NICU for our last practicum/preceptorship (other schools in the area did allow it, so there were students doing practicum on the unit).

I got hired in the NICU right out of school, regardless of the fact that I did NOT do my practicum there. I just made it clear to the NICU manager that NICU was where I was meant to be, regardless of anything else. So it IS possible... don't give up hope.

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JjoBsn:

I haven't been able to obtain a position or even a face to face interview yet but figured it would help open up more doors since most facilties locally are only hiring BSN graduates. I did continue to apply but with a little less follow up then I probably should have been doing. Education is never a bad thing and when I get the question what have you been doing? I at least I feel like Ive continued to learn. Local RN-BSN programs are no where near as difficult as my ADN and I felt like it was the only route for me so that I could still be a "new graduate".

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1,868 Visitors; 28 Posts

JjoBsn:

Education is never a bad thing and when I get the question what have you been doing? I at least I feel like Ive continued to learn. Local RN-BSN programs are no where near as difficult as my ADN and I felt like it was the only route for me so that I could still be a "new graduate".

That's so true about education. It was a great idea on your part to obtain your BSN. I wish you all the best on the job front!

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7,150 Visitors; 460 Posts

You may find this is a blessing in disguise. If you jump right into a specialty area like NICU, you can find it difficult or impossible to transition to another practice area down the line.

It is not possible as a student to know what you want to do as a nurse. Some people get lucky, their beliefs about what they want work out. You can get a really good idea, but you don't really know if something fits until you've been a practicing RN at it for a year or so.

Rock your med surg preceptorship, try to get one of the scarce bay area positions in an acute care hospital, work your tail off as a new grad and perfect those basic skills, then try to move on to NICU. It'll be easier to get out of it later if you change your mind, and you may well do that.

Ditto.

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noahsmama specializes in pediatrics, public health.

11,592 Visitors; 827 Posts

Hi. I did my preceptorship in the Kaiser Oakland NICU in spring of '08. I wanted either NICU or peds when I graduated -- eventually got hired at Childrens Hospital Oakland, but in peds, not NICU -- which was ok with me -- I loved both but actually had decided I liked peds better, but peds preceptorships were even harder to come by than NICU preceptorships.

Anyway, I can tell you that most, if not all, Bay Area NICUs will not consider you as a new grad unless you did your preceptorship in NICU, and even this is no guarantee you'll get a new grad NICU position -- I applied to every NICU in the Bay Area and did not get a job (new grad jobs were starting to be scarce in '08, though not nearly as bad as it is now). Everyone I know who did get hired in a NICU as a new grad had done a preceptorship in NICU.

However, given how scarce new grad jobs are in general right now, you may actually be better off being trained in adult med-surg, since there's more demand for med/surg than for something as specialized as NICU. If at all possible, try to get a job at a hospital that has both adult M/S and a NICU -- that way, when there's openings in the NICU, you can apply as an internal applicant, and they will have to give you preference over outside candidates (I know someone who did this to get into PICU after 6 months working adult med/surg) -- though as someone else stated, you would still need to go through the whole "new grad" training for NICU, regardless of how much experience you have in med/surg, since they're so different.

Good luck!

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