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Should I give up on NICU?

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

Hi,

I have been a nurse for 9 years now, most of which has been part time or per-diem because I have only been able to land ER jobs because of my background.

I hate working as an ER nurse so I left that and am now doing IV nursing, which I like, but I would not do it full time unless I had to. I work full time as a medic now an am thankful I have that to fall back on.

Anyway, I have been trying for YEARS to get into a special care nursery or NICU without success. They all want experience! I have some experience taking care of neonates in the ER, some that have been very ill. I have put that information in my cover letter and resume and nothing. No interviews even. I have rewritten my resume and cover letter multiple times to see if that is the problem and it hasn't changed anything. I live in the northeast where the nursing job market isn't great. I am just so fed up and ready to give up on nursing and pick another route like PA or FNP.

I have no desire to care for adults and have ALWAYS wanted to work as a nurse in a NICU. Should I give up on that dream? What else can I do to get an interview at least? I keep reading on here about nurses that are new grads or that have less experience than I have landing NICU jobs. I am just at a loss...

Annie

Do you live near a Children's Hospital? Some have different types of programs - one for new grads and another (abbreviated timewise) for experienced nurses who are new to NICU. The idea is to capitalize on the many many skills you've developed in other areas while also helping translate those to peds/neonates. Maybe search for "fellowships"?

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

I have done all of that! I have applied for new grad positions even though I am not a new grad and explained things in my cover letter.

I have applied to any and ALL open positions in my area within reason and it has been truly frustrating! Moving is not an option as I just bought a house and I love the state I live in to much to leave.... even if it means no NICU job :(

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

I even went back to school and obtained by BSN since in this area you will never be hired into a NICU without it... but still, nothing! I am taking NRP in Feb so maybe that will help.

Annie

NicuGal, MSN, RN

Specializes in NICU, PICU, PACU. Has 30 years experience.

Do you work in a hospital with a NICU, postpartum or peds floor? Many times it is easier to transfer to another unit than it is to try to be hired from the outside.

TeachEmNursing

Specializes in NICU, Education, LTC, Community health. Has 18 years experience.

It's hard to get into NICU as an non-pediatric experienced nurse these days. If I were you I would do like someone said above and look into a fellowship or maybe shadow for a period of time if you have a NICU in your hospital. Speak with the managers or nurse educators candidly about your goals and try to build a rapport with them. Good luck to you.

Do not give up on NICU. It is an amazing place to work. Have you tried either calling or personally going to the unit and talk to the manager? Tell him/her that you would like to work in NICU and see if they would schedule a time to have someone show you around the unit or shadow for a few hours. This way you can see how you like it and the manager can see you in person, not just a resume.

That being said, and the following is just my opinion and might not be true, I think NICU likes to hire either people with NICU exerience or new grads. I think this is because it is specialized and different in may ways than other units.* When a nurse experienced in other areas comes in they tend to think or act like they know more and have a hard time asking for help. This makes their transition and ability to fit into the unit very hard. I have worked in several NICUs and have been told by the hiring manager that how they think a person will "fit" in among other nurses in the unit was a big factor in their decision to hire.

I say this because I wonder if you listing all your ER experience might be hurting you rather than helping. I think you should list it but maybe in a different way. ER is very different than an ICU setting but you still have valuable experiences.

Do you have experience with respiratory devices like vent, jet, oscillator, managing central lines, critical drips? Think of things you know would be similar in the NICU even if it is with adults.* Teamwork is big so highlighting that would help. What were your experiences with the babies or mothers who delivered in ER? Can you relate that to NICU? Were you involved in a case where mom delivered in ER and you were impressed by NICU team and you wanted to be a part of it? Peds patient who you were able to do teaching with patient's parents and you like that aspect of nursing? Just some thoughts.

I think it will be helpful to come across as experienced but open to learning. I hope this helps.

Edited by JustWandering78
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JadedCPN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU. Has 13 years experience.

If NICU is what you think you truly want to do, then I wouldn't give up on it. However I think you should be realistic and accept that you may not be able to get a direct A to B from ER to NICU nursing job, as many NICUs now want either new grads or pediatric nurses. While you took care of peds in the ER, you are not a pediatric nurse. Your path may have to detour a little to get to NICU - work for a year or two on a pediatric med-surg floor at a peds hospital and then work your way to NICU.

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

Do you work in a hospital with a NICU, postpartum or peds floor? Many times it is easier to transfer to another unit than it is to try to be hired from the outside.

My hospital has only a very small special care unit (4 beds) and they only allow very experienced nurses in there since they sometimes only have one nurse because the census is generally low. I am trying to apply to other hospitals for general pediatric jobs, but so far no luck!

Annie

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

If NICU is what you think you truly want to do, then I wouldn't give up on it. However I think you should be realistic and accept that you may not be able to get a direct A to B from ER to NICU nursing job, as many NICUs now want either new grads or pediatric nurses. While you took care of peds in the ER, you are not a pediatric nurse. Your path may have to detour a little to get to NICU - work for a year or two on a pediatric med-surg floor at a peds hospital and then work your way to NICU.

Hi,

I have also been applying for general med/surg pediatric jobs for a long time, and also no dice! Not even any interviews. Again I live in the northeast and the job market is bad, as there are more nurses than jobs unfortunately! I have no desire to move so that is not an option. I guess i will keep trying... thanks for the encouragement!

Annie

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

It's hard to get into NICU as an non-pediatric experienced nurse these days. If I were you I would do like someone said above and look into a fellowship or maybe shadow for a period of time if you have a NICU in your hospital. Speak with the managers or nurse educators candidly about your goals and try to build a rapport with them. Good luck to you.

Hi,

Unfortunatly my hospital only has a VERY small SCN and a pediatric unit that has a vey low census of pedi patients. They usually have more overflow adult patients, but I may apply for a per-diem position there in pedi. Unfortunately the pay at the hospital is terrible, although otherwise it is a great place to work. I am a single woman with a mortgage, so unfortunately the dollar matters.

Annie

Another option is to volunteer as a cuddle in the NICU you want to work in. Be very helpful and get to know the staff. Then let them know you want to work there. If the staff likes you they will be a good reference for you.

verytallnurse

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.

Annie,

Don't you even think about giving up your dream like NICU. Neonatal specialty needs nurses like you, who worked somewhere else but NICU was a true calling. Children hospitals and teaching hospitals hire new grads, therefore will take you with general experience before new grad. Although they wanna save money and cant afford you... You just havent found a right hospital. Before you consider giving up whole specialty, give up your hospital.. If they dont wanna take you into NICU with ER experience, they are fools!!! We just hired 12 new grads for NICU. I wish they had any, any experience anywhere. That makes a difference. So no, you can not give up. We need people like you. On the other hand, are you willing to move for NICU job and where are you now?

Agne

Neo Rn (10 y. In NICU)

Edited by verytallnurse
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AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

Annie,

Don't you even think about giving up your dream like NICU. Neonatal specialty needs nurses like you, who worked somewhere else but NICU was a true calling. Children hospitals and teaching hospitals hire new grads, therefore will take you with general experience before new grad. Although they wanna save money and cant afford you... You just havent found a right hospital. Before you consider giving up whole specialty, give up your hospital.. If they dont wanna take you into NICU with ER experience, they are fools!!! We just hired 12 new grads for NICU. I wish they had any, any experience anywhere. That makes a difference. So no, you can not give up. We need people like you. On the other hand, are you willing to move for NICU job and where are you now?

Agne

Neo Rn (10 y. In NICU)

Hi there,

Thank you for the words of encouragement, you are very sweet!!

I pondered the idea greatly with regards to moving for a job, however I decided with a lot of thought that that is not something I want to do at this point in my life. I have my roots set here and I love where I live, just not the job market. It is very competitive since it seems everyone else wants to live in this area too unfortunately!

I could not get a NICU job as a new grad because I did not have my BSN at that time. So here I am applying to every NICU job I see with a small glimmer of hope that fades every day... :(

I know part of this is my own fault as I got a job in 2010 in a level IIb Special Care Nursery at the hospital where I worked as an ER nurse. The staff were less than welcoming and my preceptor was a true witch, all she needed was a pointy hat and a broom. She seemed to get her kicks being mean to people. I ended up leaving three weeks after I started, which of course I am regretting now, as I never thought it would be this difficult to find another job in a SCN/NICU.

I will try for as long as I have it in me, then unfortunately I will need to figure out a new career path, as I have no desire to care for adults, for the long term anyway.

Thank you again everyone.

Annie

Edited by AnnieOaklyRN

Have you tried getting a post partum or labor and delivery job? In my NICU we hire from post partum a lot, with the idea being that they know well babies and can easily transition to taking care of sick babies. Or just try getting into a hospital with a bigger NICU, no matter what area and ask to shadow in the NICU and talk to the manager about what you can do to get hired.

AnnieOaklyRN, BSN, RN, EMT-P

Specializes in ED, Pedi Vasc access, Paramedic serving 6 towns.

Any updates OP? Did you get a nicu job?

Hi,

Nope, I gave up! The job market here just isn't conducive it seams. They either want new grads ( I am guessing because they can start fresh and not have to pay them as a ten year nurse) or they want someone with experience.

Thank you for asking though.

Annie

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