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What CRNA schools truly accept NICU experience?

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Algal91 Algal91 (New) New Nurse

Specializes in PNICU. Has 8 years experience.

Hi. I have some experience with adults (2 years on Medical surgical floors and 1 year doing home care and hospice). I am currently work in our PNICU and have been here for a little over two years. Although I work in the PICU and then NICU my PICU experience is limited and I have mostly been in the NICU. I applied to a local CRNA school last year and they recommended that I move to a different unit for more experience with drops. Since covid 19 I was offered a position but they had to put all hiring on hold and the offer was retracted. That being said, I won’t have adult ICU experience prior to the next application deadline so I am looking into applying to more schools that will accept my current experience in the NICU. I have experience with high frequency ventilation and nitric, standard intubation and ventilation, blood product administration, IVH and micropreemie care, cheat tubes and I’ve had one patient on dopamine. I’ve found schools online that day they accept NICU experience but the few I’ve contacted say they prefer adult experience even though their site says they accept NICU. I’m wondering if any of you personally know of schools that truly accept and value NICU experience. Thank you!

NICU_Nightingale, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 7 years experience.

A fair amount of schools take NICU experience but the caveat is us NICU nurses need way more experience years wise and also work in very high acuity units. Two years isn’t enough NICU experience in my opinion and only having one dopa drip is telling. Focus on gaining experience and you’ll be in a better spot once you start ☺️.

I know that Emory’s Program in Atlanta accepts NICU and PICU. I was interested in going NICU however I don’t want to limit myself. I live in Georgia and when the time comes to apply to crna school, I might have to or want to go out if state. So I’m going to try and get CVICU experience. The NICU will always be there!

Algal91

Specializes in PNICU. Has 8 years experience.

6 hours ago, NICU_Nightingale said:

A fair amount of schools take NICU experience but the caveat is us NICU nurses need way more experience years wise and also work in very high acuity units. Two years isn’t enough NICU experience in my opinion and only having one dopa drip is telling. Focus on gaining experience and you’ll be in a better spot once you start ☺️.

What schools do you personally know of taking NICU experience?

larsvon, BSN, RN

Specializes in NICU. Has 8 years experience.

I have 7 years experience in the NICU and all the schools I applied to last year take it - Gonzaga, Texas Wesleyan, and Emory, for example. Programs have their admission requirements listed on their websites. Find schools you like then dig into their websites to find out if it's a good fit for your experience.

Adult ICU experience is always going to be preferred over NICU. You need to find other ways (certifications, education, conferences, etc) to make yourself stand out among the pool of applicants.

From your description of the unit you currently work on, you need to transfer to an adult ICU for at least a year, if not more, to be adequately prepared for anesthesia school. You will be responsible for multiple vasoactive drugs at the same time and looking back on the experience I had before school, I would've had a way tougher time transitioning had I never worked with these drugs before. And the overall pharmacology is only a piece of the knowledge you gain from working in an adult ICU. Also, the vast majority of patients you will be caring for in the clinical setting will be adults while in school. After the restrictions are lifted, make it a priority to find a job in a large university setting, if possible, as these settings allow you to care for the sickest of the sick and look the best on an application. Hope this helps and good luck!

JustAnotherNursemaybe, BSN

Specializes in NICU, CCU. Has 8 years experience.

I have 6 years nicu experience and moved to adult ICU in January. Trust me, you are going to want adult experience. It truly is a different world.

Future_GA_nurse, CNA, EMT-B

Specializes in Career changer.

is it feasible to work NICU/PICU and an Adult ICU both PT/per diem? How challenging wold that transition be if working both at the same time?

I'm interested in Peds and ultimately want to specialize in PEDS after obtaining my CRNA. However I know majority of cases/schools will be geared towards adults. I don't want to limit myself like @ponyo_ stated but I dont want to lose any PEDS clinical skills when applying after certification

Keep in mind too that the NICU population is hyper-specific and you aren't getting experience with a lot of the patient populations you would care for as a CRNA. I applied and was accepted to school with only PICU experience, but PICU is far more diverse than NICU because you'll see ages 0-21 and a vast variety of conditions as well as starting to see some of the more common adult problems like treating hypertension, some strokes, and traumas. I also worked in a high acuity unit and saw lots of vasoactive drips - which are critical in anesthesia. All-in-all I would say the diversity of my PICU experience served me well in interviews but I know there will be a steep learning curve in learning how to manage all patients (and especially adult/chronic disease patients in the OR). If I could do it all over again, I would definitely spend at least a year in an adult ICU first.

JustAnotherNursemaybe, BSN

Specializes in NICU, CCU. Has 8 years experience.

On 6/25/2020 at 10:24 AM, Future_GA_nurse said:

is it feasible to work NICU/PICU and an Adult ICU both PT/per diem? How challenging wold that transition be if working both at the same time?

I'm interested in Peds and ultimately want to specialize in PEDS after obtaining my CRNA. However I know majority of cases/schools will be geared towards adults. I don't want to limit myself like @ponyo_ stated but I don't want to lose any PEDS clinical skills when applying after certification

I work per diem in Nicu and full time in adult ICU. Neither are the type of place you can do per diem/part time without a couple years experience first

Future_GA_nurse, CNA, EMT-B

Specializes in Career changer.

15 hours ago, JustAnotherNursemaybe said:

I work per diem in Nicu and full time in adult ICU. Neither are the type of place you can do per diem/part time without a couple years experience first

OK thank you. This does gives me some insight of the possibilities after gaining some years of experience.

sleepisoverrated_ICURN, BSN

Specializes in NICU/CVICU. Has 10 years experience.

I have 8.5 years experience as a NICU RN in high acuity (we did ECMO too) and transferred just over a year ago to the CVICU to gain adult experience for this very reason. I am applying this year. It is definitely harder with just NICU, and honestly, I am glad I have a year of adult experience because it is completely different and I have had amazing experiences with all the gtts, ventilators, open heart recovery etc... Goodluck, I know the struggle is real... but it'll be worth the effort.

Edited by sleepisoverrated_ICURN