A little scared

  1. Hey everybody,
    I am a student graduating in the Spring. As I get closer to graduation, I keep feeling the call for me to work in the NICU just gets stronger. I would absolutely love to work in the NICU, but I'm scared. I am scared to have such a fragile pt's life in my hands. I'm scared of ventilators and codes. But in spite of this, I really think it is what I want to do. Right now I work in a level II NICU as an extern, so obviously all the babies I work with are grower/feeders. I love it, but I guess I am just looking for encouragment about making this my career. Did any of you feel scared about the things I mentioned? How long til you felt comfortable? Any advice? I would love to know how other people felt when they first started out.
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  2. 10 Comments

  3. by   BittyBabyGrower
    I don't know of one NICU nurse that hasn't been scared of codes, etc. Some get thru orientation and then decide it isn't for them. If you really want to work in level 3 go for it....sometimes it is the fear of the unknown that scares us!
  4. by   neonatalRN
    I start my new NICU job tomorrow, and I am terrified!

    Heidi
  5. by   foxyhill21
    Good luck with your new NICU job

    Quote from neonatalRN
    I start my new NICU job tomorrow, and I am terrified!

    Heidi
  6. by   sparkyRN
    There would be something wrong with you if you weren't just a little afraid of what you don't know. That's why your unit will have classes and clinicals and preceptorships to help you learn. Knowledge is very powerful. However, it won't eliminate that "kicked in the gut" feeling I still get whenever I'm called stat to the delivery room...and I've been around a LONG time!
  7. by   mischievium
    I just completed my first year in a level III/IV NICU and I am still scared sometimes-- but that's a normal and appropriate response to caring for critically ill patients. But the key, I think, is finding a hospital/unit that offers a good new grad training program-- mine started with 6 weeks of classes 2 days a week and 2 days a week on the floor with a preceptor (we shared the same patients) and then for the next six months we were on Buddying-- we had our own patients, but we had a buddy (a more senior nurse) that was assigned patients in the same room. The buddy was there to answer questions, look over paperwork, give tips/advice, help with procedures, etc. During this time, the charge nurses would try and balance our assignments between:
    1. Lower-acuity assignments in the Special Care nursery where we usually have 3 patients (very occasionally 4). These kind of assignements help to work on time management and managing older, often more wakeful/developmentally needy patients.
    2. 2-way patient assignments (usually one intubated one extubated/NCPAP) in the Intensive Care Nursery) to get exposure to more acute patients and experience managing relatively stable ventilated patients
    And:
    3. The occasional 1-way patient to get some exposure to managing a more critically ill patient while you still have the support of having a buddy around to help you.

    That said, at least on my floor, there was no real difference between being on buddying and being "on my own"-- There is still another nurse in the same bay with me to ask questions or get a second opinion on something. There is a really nice atmosphere of cooperation on my unit where it is just kind of expected that when you are done with everything, you ask your baymate if they would like help with anything so when you need help you get help and when you have time you help out. That isn't to say that there aren't days when you both have busy assignments and are running around all day, but it isn't eveyday. We can also always ask our charge nurse or admit nurse (if they aren't busy admitting a patient) for help, as well. AND, they generally give new RNs "skill-appropriate" assignments with occasional "challanges" to keep building our skills.

    NOW, with THAT all said, it has been a stressful year. There is a lot to learn and there have definitely been times when I've wondered whether I could do it. But, almost all new nurses feel that way and I figure if I am going to be stressed out it might as well be over an area of medicine (babies!!) that I enjoy. And... it gets easier, it just takes some time.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
    mischievium
  8. by   shedomer
    I start my NICU job in November and I know nothing and I am also scared to death. I am trying to read everything I get my hands on about the NICU. I am so excited cuz this is what I have wanted to do since I was 12 years old. Thanks for all these postings. they really make me feel a little more at ease, Cant wait to start. I will have to let yall know how it goes. Thanks Steph
  9. by   BabyRN2Be
    Quote from shedomer
    I start my NICU job in November and I know nothing and I am also scared to death. I am trying to read everything I get my hands on about the NICU. I am so excited cuz this is what I have wanted to do since I was 12 years old. Thanks for all these postings. they really make me feel a little more at ease, Cant wait to start. I will have to let yall know how it goes. Thanks Steph
    Your feelings are understandable. If you have a strong preceptor, it will make for a better experience for you. I really hope that you have that. It's great that you are reading. The moderators for this forum put some great books to read in a sticky at the top of the page: it's called "Recommended Reading for those in NICU" - something like that.

    Please let us know how it goes... some of us hope to be in your shoes one day.

    Kat
  10. by   Jessy_RN
    Quote from neonatalRN
    I start my new NICU job tomorrow, and I am terrified!

    Heidi
    Wishing the best of luck. Hope it is going superb thus far.
  11. by   anneliese
    I worry about those nurses with no fear. We were dicussing it in the unit one day when the seasoned Neo stated there is always the element of fear for him too. You never know about any deliveries. I've been hit hard by some that were suppose to be "nothing". Perhaps fear isn't the right word. Perhaps cautious would describe it better. Always have that element of caution. Be prepared for the worst then you won't be caught unexpected.

    Welcome to our world! Best of Luck
  12. by   Cleabear
    I feel as though I'm in the same boat...i start my first nursing job in the NICU as a graduate RN on 10/31 and I couldn't be more scared....i realize that it is mostly fear of the unknown and that just like any new job it is going to take time to feel comfortable and bring the anxiety level down to a reasonable level!!! I'm sure that some day I'll be looking back on my first days in the NICU and feel as though i have come a very long way!!

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