Should I transfer to the NICU?

By | 2022-02-08T14:43:14-05:00 October 23rd, 2008|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

I am a new grad of three months and have had one heck of a time adjusting to my new position as a neuro med/surg RN. I returned to nursing school, knowing that I wanted to be an L&D RN, which was confirmed once I did my OB nursing rotation. After graduation, I was unable to find a new grad position in labor and delivery. So I accepted the position on the neuro unit. It is completely different nursing, and I am so stressed and overwhelmed now. I have switched to night shifts, which has definitely helped me keep with the pace on the unit. I really don’t want to job hop my first year of nursing, and I like the hospital I currently work at. But I now have an interview at a different hospital for a new grad NICU position. I am not sure what to do if offered the position, as it is more in the area I want to be in. But then again I don’t want to end up in the situation I am in now. What do you suggest?


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Lisa,

Although job-hopping is not a good thing, if you are very unhappy with the specialty you are working in and have a strong desire to do something else, it may make sense for you to make a move now. However, before you do anything, make sure NICU — and this particular NICU — is the place you want to be. It is also very different from L&D.

Before making a commitment, visit the Web site of the National Association of Neonatal Nurses . Do some informational interviewing ( with nurses who already work in this specialty and ask about that hospital and unit — if they know anything about it or anyone that works there that you can also talk to. Ask for a tour of the unit, and shadow a nurse there for a few hours if possible.

And if L&D is what you really want, then you should be getting out to local chapter meetings of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses as a guest. When there’s something you want to do it makes sense to rub elbows with those already doing that thing. Read the article “How to Change Specialties” at

I also recommend that you read my book Your First Year as a Nurse, which is available at

My best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional and The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career. Information about the books is available at and, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit


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