Night shift nurses are lazy and NICU isn't real nursing!

  1. Anyone else out there been hearing this crap from other people? I am surprised, I admit, to find out how many people (at least where I work and went to school) look down on neonatal nurses as not being 'real' nurses, and night shifters as lazy do-nothings. I don't know, perhaps I expected some camradarie (sp?) or something from my 'fellow' nurses, but I have been hearing disturbing things lately. I have a 'friend' who keeps desperately trying to impress on me how neonatal nurses aren't real nurses, but in fact are merely overpaid babysitters (her words, don't kill the messenger...) who do nothing but burp and feed all night long. Sadly, this is not the only person who feels this way; her sentiments have been echoed time and time again. I have also been hearing bad things about the night staff from some of the day people, who suggest that we merely sit on our duffs all night long buffing our fingernails and OCCASIONALLY getting up to change a diaper. Am I naive to not have expected this? It's making me very angry!! Our staffing managers seem to agree, frequently pulling from our abundantly staffed roster to all areas of the hospital. I was told that other units actually PURPOSELY understaff, because they know that in a pinch, we always have enough nurses. They'll pull from our unit to staff another, leaving us short and running wildly around all night. I had six babies on Level II the other night, and literally didn't stop moving all night long. In the morning, I could have stayed three more hours catching up on stuff I didn't or couldn't finish!! Talk about horrible nursing care. I actually said a prayer for my babies to forgive me because on average, each one got about ten minutes of my time every hour, if they were lucky!!! Can anyone relate to any of this?
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  2. 49 Comments

  3. by   Shantony
    I cant comment on NICU but most people think we sit around at night drinking coffee, eating potluck and reading. But I work in a progressive care unit which also has an isolation wing. So we are always understaffed at night and we hump constantly. Nurses fighting over how many patients they have, techs fighting that they are not taking more than 8 and you know the rest but we handle it. Next time tell who ever it is to switch to nights or try to do what you do. If they are unwilling tell them to shut up because most people in hospitals DO NOT sleep at night. We wake them up every 2-4 hours plus they are dealing with their own issues.
  4. by   kaycee
    The night shift lazy thing has been around for ages. You just have to ignore it. You night guys know the work you do and how important you are so who cares what everybody else thinks.
    BUT, to say a NICU nurse is not a real nurse. THAT IS CRAZY! I work ER and I hate really sick kids let alone really sick babies. They scare me. I have all the respect in the world for NICU nurses, in fact ALL Peds nurses!!
    Kristi, maybe your friend needs to get thrown into a NICU. Just tell her you're the baby sitter now, go for it. I think she and anyone else that doubts your a real nurse would change their tune fast!!
    Everyone with RN and LPN behind their names are real nurses, no matter where they practice. Geez, we are all constantly demanding respect, how can we ever get it if we can't even respect each other!
  5. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Why let misguided opinions bother you? Anyone who has EVER worked night shift for any period of time knows DIFFERENTLY( have worked ALL shifts in 5 years, so I know the differences).......and those that don't understand are not worth my worry or time of day, period. There is a REASON for that differential ya know. MY DAY shift folks KNOW better than to diss the nightshift to ME, trust me! If we all walked, they would be in DIRE straits!

    And if NICU nursing is not "real" (jeez dealing w/sick babies and harder, their FAMILES!!) i dunno know what IS!!! Ignore these miguided ding-dongs!
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Jun 2, '02
  6. by   fergus51
    There are tons of these stupid myths in nursing. I have also heard that med-surg is easy (PUHLEEZE!!!), all OB nurses do is stand around and yell "PUSH!" and that geriatric and community health aren't really nursing. It's all stupid and I don't pay any attention to it anymore.
  7. by   SmBaxter
    I hear the same load of nonsense! I have worked nights on an oncology/med-surg unit for two years. We go straight out all night and, as you know, sometimes spend very little time with our patients, as we are understaffed, and we are also pulled from when we do have good staffing. Anyone who says neonatal nursing is "babysitting" needs to spend some time doing it!! Babies are so fragile and can change status so quick, and they can't even tell us when something is wrong!It is frustrating when faced with these attitudes, and you just have to ignore it, or invite your detractors to work with you one night! Keep your sense of humor, and know the important work you do.
  8. by   micro
    Originally posted by kaycee
    ............
    Everyone with RN and LPN behind their names are real nurses, no matter where they practice. Geez, we are all constantly demanding respect, how can we ever get it if we can't even respect each other!
    Kaycee, well said and worth the repeat....
    I just left the thread about geriatric nurses being "real nurses"..

    What has happened to the question of basic respect for our fellow coworkers.......? Understandable and frustrating that people outside the ranks of nursing do not understand what we do, but we disrespect ourselves and continue to battle just because.

    k', i know rhetorical ???, but good for the rethink.....someday we will all learn to get along...
  9. by   RNinICU
    I hear the same thing about ICU. The floor nurses think we get lazy because we have only one or two patients apiece instead of the 10 to 15 they have. NO nursing job is easy, and we need to learn to respect each other. I would never go back to working med surg, but I still work just as hard in ICU as I did when I worked the floors.
  10. by   nrw350
    I have never been in the hospital for inpatient status that I can remember (I was in at age 4 or 5, but do not remember it at all). But, why do you have to wake the patients every 2 or 4 hours?

    Nick
  11. by   MollyJ
    I worked night shift for a short time (18 months--=quit because I kept wrecking my car; intolerant of sleep dep). Never worked NICU.

    This is the petty whining that has created divisiveness in nursing for centuries. Why even give it a second of thought? that gives it a second of credibility!

    Nice hot weather we're having here in Kansas.
  12. by   Zee_RN
    To answer your question, Nick: In more critical care areas of the hospital, patients are wakened regularly not because we wish to disturb their sleep but because we need to evaulate their status on a very regular basis--check their blood pressure, pulse, respirations and sometimes lung sounds and a neurologic assessment too. In ICU, we do that hourly, around-the-clock.

    NICU is real, hard, honest-to-goodness nursing and bless you who do it and deal with the families. And I thank God every day for those who work night shift. I work 'em when I have to (last night) but avoid them when I can. I didn't see anyone sitting down, reading or eating pot luck last night...
  13. by   Robin61970
    I'm sorry I had to comment on this thread.......when my son was born he was intolerant to almost every formaula...he threw up blood right before discharge and I called the nurse.....boy did they move quick. He went to the NICU for 5 days until they could find a formula for him...he had to have an IV in his scalp and all. Of course they discharged me and told me to go home??? HA!! I moved into the waiting room for all of 6 hours until those NICU nurses put me in a family room so that I could be close to him.....they were wonderful to me and because I wanted to be a part of it let me do as much as I could with him....which helped them out as well.....they had many babies to care for.....I thank God for the ones I had! Those people are full of crap.......blow them off!
  14. by   Teshiee
    Sounds like a bunch of player hating individuals who do not have a clue about NICU. If they knew what we do they would realize that NICU babies work in stages with the final outcome being a grower and feeder with the parents learning all they can to care for their little one. I work nights and I know NICU can get really busy no matter how large or small. Just because we dont have a 10 patient ratio doesn't make us lazy just smart.

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