Should I transfer departments during orientation?

Nurses Career Support

Updated:   Published

Specializes in PCU/SDU.

Is it unprofessional switching to another dept during orientation?

I'm a new grad (graduated in August) and I've always been interested in working in the NICU. Unfortunately, because of COVID we were never allowed to go to the NICU during nursing school (even though, I tried many times), so the reality is that I like the idea of working in NICU, but I don't really know much about it. I'm really interested in critical care and I enjoy neonates. I like working with new parents and all the education that comes with it. 

Once I graduated, I tried to find a job in a NICU. I live in a small town and there were no new grad NICU or L&D positions open, so I took a job in Step Down with hopes to transfer some day. I've been orienting for two months and I'll be done by the end of December. I like Step Down as crazy as it can get. I love my coworkers, and I'm doing well (as can be) in my orientation. However, my hospital (the only hospital with a NICU in my area) has opened a new grad NICU position. I really want to apply, but at the same time I feel it's unprofessional to bail on the department I'm currently in so soon. I'm afraid it won't look good if I try to transfer right now, and I'll be letting down my manager and coworkers. But I am also afraid I won't have another opportunity to get a NICU position if I don't do it now. Especially it being a new grad residency position, considering I have no experience. 

I feel very conflicted. I was hoping you guys could given me your honest insight on this and help me objectively look at it. 

Thanks you and don't be afraid to lay it on me. I like honesty. 

Specializes in ICU.

Hi there! I have been a preceptor for new grad ICU nurses and I can tell you that orientation is definitely the time to leave the unit if it is not for you. Lots of nurses wanted to come to ICU and you could tell their heart was somewhere else, they would be overwhelmed and just miserable. I understand it feels "unprofessional" but it would be a disservice to the unit to spend time, resources, and money training you only to leave as soon as your desired position opens up 6 months to a year from now.

I know it is hard, but if you really want to apply to the NICU position go for it. If you don't apply now, you will always wonder "what if?" Before ICU, I did 1yr med surg because some older RNs said I shouldn't specialize right away. Don't listen to that LOL just do what you want and you'll learn on the way.

good luck!

Specializes in PCU/SDU.

Thank you so much for your answer. I appreciate the POV of someone in your position. I ended up applying because I figured this is the chance I've been hoping for and it might not come again. What you said about wondering "what if" really stuck with me. I haven't heard anything back yet, but if I don't get the position at least I'll know I tried. 

Thanks again!

Specializes in NICU; Mother-Baby.

As a NICU nurse, our world is very different from the adult side of things. If you haven't had any time in NICU during school consider asking to shadow a few shifts to make sure it's everything you think it is.

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