Can't Decide - NeonatalICU or Stay in Trauma

  1. I'm currently a tech on the transitional trauma unit graduating in December. I LOVE where I'm at.

    I also want to work with neonates and have accepted a position in the NICU for January. I just don't know if I want to go right into critical care.

    Also, I want to be on the weekend program (premium pay 3 out of 4 weekends/month).

    Here are my pros and cons... Please tell me what y'all think!

    TTU
    Pros
    Love what I do
    Bonus ($4000-13,000)
    Short Orientation
    Incentive pay
    Great base knowledge
    Like population
    Time to figure out what areas of nursing I enjoy/hate
    Sets up well for TNICU, ER, ICU, NICU
    Weekend program in 6 months
    Already know staff
    Good at this population

    NICU
    Pros
    High Tech
    Low impact on my body
    Specialized
    No residents
    Safer population
    Don't know if I'll be good with parents


    TTU
    Cons
    High impact on my body
    Tech to RN transition may be difficult
    Lack of exp nurses at night
    More dangerous population
    May not get into NICU when I want
    Adult poop :chuckle

    Cons
    Don't know if want right away
    No bonus
    Specialized
    Limited OT
    Long orientation
    May not like population
    Won't have nursing base knowledge
    Lack of exp nurses at night
    No weekend for at least 1.5 years
    Don't know staff

    As you can see I'm leaning toward staying where I'm at. But this is the toughest most well thought out decision I've ever made. I am DRIVING MYSELF CRAZY!!!
    Last edit by CarVsTree on Nov 5, '05
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   shel_wny
    I always thought a long orientation was preferred against a shorter one.
    At least that's what my instructors and colleagues seem to make me think!
  4. by   wonderbee
    eenie, meenie, minie moe... LOVE IT is heavily weighted. It's a rare opportunity to get paid for working at what you love to do. Twelve hours is a loooong time. JMHO. The transition from tech to nurse isn't a piece of cake to be sure but its pain is temporary.

    Whatever you choose, I wish you lots of good luck.
  5. by   oldnurse newnurse
    Always go for a longer orientation gives you more time to catch on and more support, once you are off orientation people look at you as you are ready.
  6. by   ER1010
    From what you described, I would stay where you are for at least 6 months. You will build your confidence as a new grad in a comfortable arena that you like, and NICU will be there if you want to switch. If you love it, stick with it for a while!
  7. by   CarVsTree
    Thank you everyone for your responses.

    I decided to stay on TTU. I e-mailed the Director of NICU and she supported me 100% and told me to contact her when/if I'm ready to start in NICU. I think this is the best of both worlds!

    Thanks again!!!
  8. by   SteveNNP
    I know you already made your choice, but here's some advice to help you validate your choice.

    I assume you haven't done any time in the NICU. Most of what you wrote as pros/cons are correct. However, the "safer population" I don't understand. You are dealing with babies here, some less than a pound, usually critically ill, sometimes their parents last shot at having children, sometimes products of drug use, alcoholism. Are you sure this is for you, as opposed to an accident/crime victim? These kids cras in seconds. SECONDS!!! I volunteered to work yesterday morning, came in to care for a set of "stable" heh heh, 29 week twins. Within 30 minutes of getting there, I coded one 4 times, pushed epi, did compressions, assisted with a pericardial tap, started dopamine, gave FFP, boluses with NS, reassessed again and again, etc, etc. I started here as a new grad 5 months ago, and nursing school taught me nothing about NICU. It is all on-the-job training. While I now feel somewhat prepared, this is never going to be a predictable job. I still love it though!
  9. by   CarVsTree
    Quote from SteveRN21
    However, the "safer population" I don't understand.
    I meant safer for me not the patients. I describe patients in terms of acuity. Safer is the work environment of the population. When you work with head injuries, drunks, drug addicts, etc. It can be dangerous. I've been kicked in the chest, swung at, and between a patient and the door when a pt. decided to go nuts. I take care of shooters, shootees, etc. My life has been threatened by a patient's Significant other, etc.

    Are you sure this is for you, as opposed to an accident/crime victim?
    No, I'm not sure its for me. Thanks for the "advice" though. I found your post a bit condascending, I assume due to you misunderstanding what I meant by a safer population. I never assumed NICU patients were predictable nor did I ellude to that anywhere in my post. I personally believe that I would do a disservice to my patients by starting in a critical care area such as NICU which is why I ultimately decided to stay where I am and learn to be a nurse first.
    Last edit by CarVsTree on Nov 16, '05
  10. by   SteveNNP
    Quote from suemom2kay
    No, I'm not sure its for me. Thanks for the "advice" though. I found your post a bit condascending, I assume due to you misunderstanding what I meant by a safer population.
    Ok, that's fine....I didn't mean to be condescending at all. I apologize if I came across that way. It's probably due to the fact I had just gotten off working 60 hours that week. I've noticed that many non-NICU nurses come into the unit as one of these: either they are afraid to do anything, or freak out when a baby gets sick/codes, etc. If you are willing to learn like crazy and accept challenges when you start in NICU, you'll do fine, but a lot of people burn out quickly in that environment. I would have done what you did, and start out where I was comfortable, amid supportive coworkers. I'm sure you'll be ready for your transition to NICU in no time. Good Luck!
  11. by   CarVsTree
    Quote from SteveRN21
    Ok, that's fine....I didn't mean to be condescending at all. I apologize if I came across that way. It's probably due to the fact I had just gotten off working 60 hours that week. I've noticed that many non-NICU nurses come into the unit as one of these: either they are afraid to do anything, or freak out when a baby gets sick/codes, etc. If you are willing to learn like crazy and accept challenges when you start in NICU, you'll do fine, but a lot of people burn out quickly in that environment. I would have done what you did, and start out where I was comfortable, amid supportive coworkers. I'm sure you'll be ready for your transition to NICU in no time. Good Luck!
    Thanks Steve! We also get people on our unit who have NO IDEA what trauma entails and end up walking out the door rather quickly. We'll see where I end up. I'm happy I'm staying where I'm at for the moment with my crazy traumas.
  12. by   CarVsTree
    Quote from shel_wny
    I always thought a long orientation was preferred against a shorter one.
    At least that's what my instructors and colleagues seem to make me think!
    TTU is a short-er orientation, but it is still at least 12 weeks. TTU is a Trauma step-down unit. We have 4 critical care (but no vents) patients in one room with a nurse/tech team and the rest of the floor are trauma med/surg patients.

    The NICU orientation is at least 6 months and is much more intense. I plan on enjoying lots of time with my four year old and husband for putting up with my FT school/FT work schedule. These were probably the most important factors in my decision.

    Thanks!

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