"Did you know you wanted to become a Nurse?"
Whelp, honestly I have a hard time pin pointing the reason. Healthcare & Medical runs in my family. I actually have a 1/2 brother (who I never knew about until this past year) practicing as General Surgeon. I have 3 aunts who are nurses, a grandfather & uncle who are Dentists, etc. But, I did not have immediate family in my household working in healthcare.
The REAL STORY is....my dad took me to my University of Arizona (#beardown) New Student Orientation. I was Pre-Business at the time. We got to the orientation and 30 minutes into the orientation, we both fell ASLEEP! My dad literally looked at me and said, "Is this really what you want to do?" Well, we promptly left the auditorium & switched my degree to Pre-Nursing. Yep, that's what happened. LOL
On a more sentimental note, I had always been drawn to nursing. The idea of making a living making a difference in someones life everyday. That was the best decision I ever made, but it wasn't an easy journey for me.
DO NOT GIVE UP WHEN YOU MEET HARDSHIPS.
We need nurses who will go the extra mile,
push through fear, rejection, & Rigor.
Your future patients will thank you.
I have been a NICU nurse for 8+ years. I have had the most rewarding career anyone can ask for. I am lucky enough to LITERALLY save lives everyday. In addition, I have had several job opportunities come my way and work in several amazing Los Angeles & Orange County, CA based hospitals. I have worked with some of the most amazing NICU staff, made life-long friends, and worked with some of the most wonderful families, I believe placed in my life for a reason, etc.
Frequently Asked Questions
♡ FAVORITE PART OF BEING A NICU NURSE?
♡ DID YOU GET A NICU JOB AS A NEW GRAD? DID YOU HAVE PRIOR EXPERIENCE?
YES. I was hired as a NICU New Grad Nurse & NO, I did not have prior nursing experience. I interviewed for several different Nurse Residency Programs all over California & Arizona. It took me 8 months to land my first job out of Nursing school.
♡ IS THE NICU A GOOD PLACE TO START AS A NEW GRAD, SHOULD I GET EXPERIENCE BEFORE APPLYING?
♡ WORK LIFE BALANCE, HOW DO YOU HANDLE THE STRESS?
Working as a Nurse (or in any Healthcare position for that matter) is one of the most rewarding and taxing jobs out there. We are in the business of curing and healing people. Quite honestly, it can be very draining. People are at their Best & Worst in our everyday job. We work with life & death. Life & then life support, the happiest & saddest of the human experiences. To be frank, it is a lot, both mentally & physically.
♡ IF I GO INTO NICU, WILL I LOOSE ALL MY SKILLS?
Well, frankly Yes. Working in the Neonatal population is very different than any other unit. (We don’t do “BIG people”) Our vital signs, medications, priorities of care, etc. all ALL different. Truly any unit, clinic, hospitcal, community setting you go into will be unique in its own way.
♡ DO I NEED TO WORK IN MED SURG FIRST BEFORE APPLYING TO NICU?
NO!! This is another question I get quite often.You DO NOT NEED to work on the floors first! ICU vs Med Surg nursing are very different skill sets.
♡ I WANT TO BE A NICU NURSE, NOT SURE WHERE TO START
♡ DO YOU HAVE ANY NEW GRAD NURSE POINTERS?
Too many to count!
♡ FROM ADULT TO NICU, DO YOU HAVE ANY POINTERS?
Prepare to feel like a New Grad again. And it’s OK. NICU is truly its own world. Vital signs, medication, plan of care, priorities, emotions, treatments, diagnosis, etc. are all so different. I have been a NICU nurse for 6 years and STILL feel that way (especially working in a Level IV NICU setting.
♡ WHAT TYPES OF DIAGNOSIS DO YOU SEE IN THE NICU?
There are many reasons why a baby would end up in a NICU. As simple as dehydration from difficulty breast feeding to life threatening diagnosis or congenital diseases. Much of what NICU nurses experience at the bedside is determined by their NICU setting. (Level I-IV NICU).
♡ WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO YOU NEED TO WORK AS A NICU NURSE?
♡ CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE RNC-NIC PROCESS?
I took my RNC-NIC after 3 years of experience. And if you know me, you understand how much I hated this. (I am a horrible student & test taker...but I did it, and so glad I did.)
♡ NURSE RESIDENCY PROGRAMS, YES OR NO?
Any time someone is PAYING you to learn, I say DO IT!
♡ I AM 35+, IS IT TOO LATE TO BECOME A NURSE?
♡ I WORK IN ANOTHER UNIT, HOW DO I TRANSITION INTO NICU?
There are a few ways to tackle this!
♡ NURSE INTERVIEW TIPS & TRICKS
Yes I do! TOO MANY TO COUNT!
Was it Hard to become a nurse?
Yes! It was hard. (for me)
Point blank, No sugar on top.
It was the hardest thing I have had to do in my career.
I struggled to get into nursing school and also throughout nursing school journey.
I have been very open about this via Instagram, Podcast & brining it all here as well. My journey to becoming a nurse was difficult.
I was NOT an "A" student. I struggled in school. But I knew NURSING was my calling!
So what did I do to make it happen?
How did you become a nicu nurse?!
I PUT THE BLINDERS ON AND PUSHED THROUGH WITH GRIT, BLOOD, SWEAT, AND TEARS (LITERALLY).
Much of my journey to become a NICU nurse took PLANNING.
I made a plan! And a back up plan!
And a back up for the back up plan!
Plan A (Nursing school)
Plan B (Accelerated Programs)
Plan C (Community College)
Plan D (Out of State Programs)
I retook classes! If I got a B,
I went back that summer to get the A!
Yes, I did this for several classes!
I networked. I got to know nurses in nursing school, volunteered at the nursing school,
made face to face meetings on how to improve my portfolio & application
AND YES, IT IS WORTH IT
I buckled down. I put the "blinders" on! Minimal social life, missed out on family functions,
broke up with baggage, and focused on what I wanted. Honestly, it was really refreshing.
And I am here to tell you, the hustle was worth it!
I sacrificed, missed family & friend events, even missed holidays to study or catch up on Nursing school projects! However, I have now been a nurse for 6 years & starting my side gig "Blogging!"
I am so thankful for the hard journey
I came through to become a nurse.
I am here to tell you (if you know you are meant to be a NURSE), GO FOR IT! It was a true struggle for me due to cost, impact on schools, competitive applications, academic struggle, low morale, etc. I had heard it all and felt it all! But I knew I was quick on my feet, valuable to someone, and would find my way.