Geriatrics to NICU nurse, can this be done?

  1. Hi I used to come to allnurses all the time (I lived here actually), but then fell off the wagon.

    I've been a geriatric nurse in personal care homes since I graduated from nursing school in 1998. I am very bitter and very burnt out about work right now. I've been on stress leave a few times and I'm thinking maybe it's time to make a significant change while I still have my marbles.

    My future mother in law likes me a lot and is trying to get me to apply to work on her NICU unit. Apparently they're really good at giving the people the training they need and she's even offered to let me to a "drive-along" during one of her shifts. I like to think that I can do it, and I can make this change that scares the heck out of me, but geeze people with alzheimer's and preemies are kinda different you know.

    I remember being scared as heck during my peds rotation in school (which is probably very much related to my choice of such a lo-tech area of nursing.

    Also the idea of lifting people who are only 500grams looks so good when I hobbly home after a shift of taking care of heavy people.

    I've been praised quite a few times about my cool head in emergencies and I am and have been very dedicated to learning new things and keeping my practice up to date.

    Anyone ever made a humungous change like this?
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   augigi
    I had to rotate in my grad year from a geriatric rehab unit to ICU. I loved it and never left the ICU for another ward!! Definitely take the offer of shadowing your MIL to see if you even like it before deciding - what have you got to lose?
  4. by   adrienurse
    Well the thing is, I've invested a lot of time and $$ on my Psychogeriatric specialty. My credentials are up for renewal in 2007 and I'm currently enrolled in a course.
  5. by   wooh
    I took the test for my adult med/surg certification 2 days after my last full-time shift before going to pediatrics. Don't regret going to pediatrics though!
    I think if you're recognizing burnout in yourself, you need to get out for your own sanity. And whatever excuses you're seeing to stay, it's just the fear of change talking. Good luck!
  6. by   augigi
    Time and money are valuable, but they don't make it easier to get out of bed for work in the morning. Before you worry about it too much, at least check out the unit and see if you even like it!
  7. by   Jolie
    I think shadowing your MIL is an excellent idea.

    There are probably more similarities between geriatrics and neonates than you may think. Some NICU patients are short termers (like those admitted for r/o sepsis and glucose instability), much like the short-term Medicare patients you admit to LTC. There are also some very long term patients (micro-preemies) who will be with you for months. You will have a wide range of acuities, from very sick preemies and surgical patients on vents and drips with multiple lines, to recovering feeder-growers whose care is similar to normal newborns.

    You will also establish relationships with families, and do a lot of patient teaching, much like you do now for the families of residents who are preparing for DC. Your psych background will serve you well in any setting.

    Good luck, whatever you decide!
  8. by   prmenrs
    See if you do some volunteering in your MIL's unit. Some hospitals have volunteers that hold and feed babies--they might be called "cuddlers" or something like that. It would allow you to observe the goings-on in the unit before you make the leap.

    And nothing is quite as nurturing (for both parties) as holding a baby! Ought to be the treatment of choice for burn-out! (IMHO)

    You might see if MIL has some textbooks she can loan you. If you decide to change, you'll have a LOT of homework! As much as if one of us switched to geriatrics.

    Best Wishes.

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