confidence in the NICU

  1. I was looking at an older post from Kristi2377 when she was just starting out in the NICU and was terrified of being a newbie.

    My question to Kristi and everyone else is how long did it take for you to feel comfortable on the floor?
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   fergus51
    I'm still waiting....
  4. by   NICU_Nurse
    LOL! These posts keep coming back to haunt me.

    Well, I've got good news and bad news.

    The good news is that, after 19 months of working as a nurse, I actually stopped having that "I'm going to puke if they call and say an admit is headed to the unit" feeling! I now look forward to admits, even in Level III, so apparantly that comfortable feeling snuck up on me. I use comfortable loosely, however, because I know I'm still very new (19 mo's does not an expert make!) and still get very apprehensive when the extreme preemies come my way, or the SERIOUSLY ill babies. I now know, though, the initial things to do to attempt to stabilize a baby, and I feel much more confident (leaps and bounds more) than I used to. I still very much depend on the knowledge and expertise and team contributions from those who I look to as my mentors, but you'll be amazed at what you learn.

    More good news: I can burp a baby like nobody's business.

    Bad news: I still know virtually nothing when you take into consideration all of the things that can be learned. There is not a day that goes by that I don't look *something* up, and I take time out of every weekend to devote to studying, whether it's reviewing my NRP or doing courses for CEU's that are relevant to neonatology, or reading my textbooks (I have the Merenstein and Gardner book, and also the Neonatology book by Gamella, along with a bunch of other stuff on developmental care and breastfeeding) or whatever. I still ask A TON of questions (thank goodness my teammates are patient people!) every single night at work, but they've gotten more advanced (I went from "What do I do if the baby spits up?" to "How is the development of sepsis affecting this baby's respiratory system?").

    I think it was about a year before I felt like, okay, I'm still new, but I think I can cover most of the bases to keep the babies alive. Keeping them alive is a very good thing. Focus on that. The rest will follow, I promise.

    Now, I've gone and upset the table by resigning from this job (the one I actually have felt comfortable at) and moving to a new job in a new NICU in a new hospital that is tremendously more difficult and progressive than the unit that I have been working on.

    Why didn't I stop when I was ahead? LOL!

    Are you working on the floor now, or are you still in school?
  5. by   nicudaynurse
    It may take up to a year before you don't have that sick feeling before work. Even after two and a half years there are still situations that make me nervous. Remember that there is no magic time when you should be comfortable. Time, experience, and education is what will result in confidence.

    Good Luck!!
  6. by   Mithrah
    Thank you for your replies. I am currently a nursing student who plans to graduate May 04.

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