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UK vs. St. joe

Kentucky   (1,678 Views 4 Comments)
by NeuroNP NeuroNP (Member)

NeuroNP has 10 years experience .

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Question: I am a nursing student in Lexington and I have applied for "scholarships" with both St. Joe and UK. These are the kind that carry a work requirement post-graduation. Assuming that I get both, I have to choose one (if I don't get both, this is moot).

I know I want to work in critical care. Right now I'm leaning towards NICU because I'd like to go into advanced practice at some point and I think NNP would be something I'd like (I like the NICU population and environment and it seems like NNP is the best opportunity to be an NP in a solely critical care environment - at least in this area), but I'd be willing to do any ICU.

I know that UK has a Level 3 NICU (and you need at least 2 years in a Level 3 NICU to go to NNP school) and St. Joe East has a NICU and they've told me that they're going to significantly expand it over the next few years. I'm not sure what level it is.

I've worked at both hospitals as a tech, but not in ICUs directly (I worked step-down at St Joe and ED at UK, so I was IN the ICUs a lot...) and I don't know much about the NICUs at either place. (I've shadowed in NICUs elsewhere and so I know I'm interested in that environment)

First, is there anyone out there who works or has worked in the NICUs in either of these hospitals? If not the NICU, can I get opinions from people as to which would be a better place to start? I haven't worked in either for a few years, so I'm not up on starting salaries for RNs. Also, what about opportunities to learn and the general work environment. For example, I know if I want to go NNP I'll have to end up at UK (or some other Level 3 NICU - I assume that SJE is not a Level 3 NICU), but would it be better to start at SJE because it's a better learning environment?

Anyone with experience in these units/hospitals who could offer me some information would be appreciated!

Bryan

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Lacie is a BSN, RN and specializes in jack of all trades.

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I cant comment on the NICU's but over all I worked both institutions and of them I loved St. Joe's! I worked the open heart unit and was a manager of the 2E telemetry unit. UK I would have to be desperate to return to. After working in one that allows a great deal of autonomy I missed that dramatically when I left to go to UK's Burn ICU. I'm not sure who is in management these days but I hated it. I left after about 4 months. If management has changed out then maybe its improved.

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NeuroNP has 10 years experience.

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I cant comment on the NICU's but over all I worked both institutions and of them I loved St. Joe's! I worked the open heart unit and was a manager of the 2E telemetry unit. UK I would have to be desperate to return to. After working in one that allows a great deal of autonomy I missed that dramatically when I left to go to UK's Burn ICU. I'm not sure who is in management these days but I hated it. I left after about 4 months. If management has changed out then maybe its improved.

When were you on 2E? I was a SWAN there from 2001-2003! I wanted to work in CTVU, but there were no positions available. I ended up going to the ED at UK (no ICU positions available there either!). My only real experience with UK first hand was the ED and it was not very well run in my opinion. I've heard from a friend who is still an RN there that it's actually gotten worse. Pretty scary!

I did a semester where I observed in the PICU and liked it, but I followed the MDs so I didn't get to really see what nursing was like, we came in for rounds and then did procedures.

I think I would lean towards St Joe because I've heard you get more autonomy because there's not always a doc around and also the lady I met with about the scholarship was SO friendly and helpful. UK has not been very helpful. They have a packet on the web site that you fill out and return and I've not heard anything from them. It said for questions, email the nurse recruiters, but I found out that if I needed a question asked, I had to email the secretary because the recruiters never returned my emails!

My only concern with going with St Joe is that I don't think it's a Level III NICU and I think I need that Level 3 experience to go to NNP school. Plus, that's what I really want to do anyway, real critical care. I'd rather do that than work in a NICU that is just a little bit higher than well baby nursery. That's why I'd like to talk to someone who knows specifically about St. Joe's NICU.

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NeuroNP has 10 years experience.

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I thought I'd update this thread that I started...

I just accepted the scholarship at St Joe. In the end it came down to a few things. I still am leaning towards NICU/NNP and would love to work in a Level III NICU after graduation, but St Joe offered me a much better deal. UK would have paid tuition plus $20/credit hour for books (that would give me a grand total of $180 for the first semester...that should buy A book, maybe 2!!). St Joe is paying for EVERYTHING in full. Tuition, books, fees, NCLEX review course, scrubs, etc.

UK told me they'd make a decision by mid-August, classes start the 20th! St Joe called me less than 48 hours after my interview. The lady I interviewed with at UK made a casual reference to the fact that they couldn't guarentee they'd have ANY positions open when I graduated (much less in the NICU - she also told me that I'd have to go where the need was regardless of where I WANTED to work), but then added, "but when are we not going to need nurses, right?"

Apparently, more than you'd think. I talked to a girl who told me that she got the scholarship and then was told there was no position available for her. She ended up at another hospital and now owes UK the money because she didn't "fullfill" her work committment!

Overall, I got the impression from UK that they were doing me a favor (and that I'd be stuck with them and so they wouldn't really care much about me after I sign on the dotted line) whereas St Joe really recruited me. They spent a lot of time convincing me that I wanted to be there rather than me spending time convincing them to take me.

I'd still like to go to UK at some point (unless we move, I'll have to to get Level III NICU experience), but I'd like it to be on MY terms instead of being obligated to them. Until then, I'm hoping to get into the Level II NICU at St. Joe and if not, one of the adult ICUs.

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