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If I want to become a neonatal nurse, would I have to work with adults first to gain experience or can jump right to NICU?


June 22nd, 2022

So I’m not a NICU nurse, but I am an adult critical care nurse. I always tell people that the old adage that you need to be a floor nurse (or anything) before getting into speciality isn’t necessarily true. Some people want to go that way, but I firmly believe you can learn how to be a nurse on any unit, not just an adult medical floor. The nursing process is the same no matter where you work; if you have an orientation program you’ll learn it in the NICU too.

What the adult medical floor DOESN’T have is the specialized equipment, processes, and exposures that you need to be a good NICU (or ICU or ED or whatever) nurse. If your goal is NICU, then get right in there and learn it. I don’t think you’ll have much trouble getting hired into it, especially at medical centers with a nurse residency/fellowship program.

Get it!

June 22nd, 2022

I am a new grad and my first job was in NICU! It mainly depends on the hospital system and their needs. Mine was in need of nurses and hired on lots of new grads and people with minimal baby experience. They were open to teaching us and helping us succeed! I would say apply to the job!!

June 22nd, 2022

I have been a NICU nurse for 28 years, NICU educator for approx 12 years. Used to be a new grad was never even considered for ANY ICU. These days, new grads can get into a level III NICU based on what I believe are two important criteria. 1) Does the unit have an internship program 2) How well you interview. In the interview, relay your enthusiasm for being a NICU nurse, saying 'It's true, I don't have experience, but I also do not have any poor habits or pre set attitudes about being a NICU nurse. I am a clean slate, ready and so excited to learn. And so wanting to be a part of a team that gives excellent care to babies and their families'. A positive attitude, a willingness to learn and work well with others, goes a long way in nursing. Good luck!

June 22nd, 2022

I’m currently a new grad, with my very first job being in the NICU! I oriented with several other nurses, some without experience like myself and others who transferred from medsurg and ED. We were all oriented in the same manner, and the nurses with adult experience said that they felt like they were brand new nurses all over again. So yes, you can definitely jump right into NICU!

June 23rd, 2022

I have worked in a level 3 NICU for 27 years. I did begin my career on a med/surg unit. I soon realized that was not my passion. After a year I worked in a newborn nursery for 6 months and then transferred to the NICU. To answer your question…we have had many new grads start in our unit over the years. The orientation process prepares you for the NICU. As with all units it is up to the person to ask questions and immerse yourself into learning all you can. NICU units are not for everyone but if it is your passion it is very rewarding!!

June 23rd, 2022

If you start at a Pediatric Hospital you may be more likely to be able to start as a NICU nurse If you work in a community based hospital they may have different requirements Of course it will depend on staffing needs. Just be upfront with the HR person you speak with regarding your interests