How do I explain my new job?

  1. I'll be starting work as an RN in the NICU in a few weeks--a job I've always wanted . . . but when I tell people where I'll be working most of them respond with something like, "Oh, how can you stand to hurt those poor babies?" It makes me feel kind of like an ogre

    I'll be working at a level III NICU and we get babies from several states, but most of them do go home, although a lot of the wee ones are discharged to other hospitals to grow first.

    Do any of you get that reaction from people and how do you respond? Maybe I'll have a better answer after I've worked there for awhile, but at this point I really don't know what to say
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   crissrn27
    If you want to be really blunt say "no, I keep the babies alive"
  4. by   MrChicagoRN
    Quote from hikernurse
    I'll be starting work as an RN in the NICU in a few weeks--a job I've always wanted . . . but when I tell people where I'll be working most of them respond with something like,

    "Oh, how can you stand to hurt those poor babies?"

    "No, I help them. Would you rather we just let them die?"
  5. by   hikernurse
    Criss and MrChicago--thanks for your replies

    Those are both great responses and better than how I've been responding.
  6. by   psalm
    As with anything, sometimes we have to have temporary pain or discomfort before we get better. Like giving birth, or being born... Surgery comes to mind, as do vaccines (shots), pain meds (shots IM or thru IV, which necessatated a stab in the vein).

    As a NICU nurse, you are a hero to parents and family. People outside the nursing and medical fields can sometimes say the dumbest things...without realizing what they are saying. The above replies are good. Just concentrate on the positives. Remind them that in many cases the babies are receiving pain meds or are sedated.

    Enjoy your new position, you sound like a caring person. Just don't let what people say get to you.
  7. by   preemieRNkate
    I've gotten that comment, as well as, "Don't alot of babies die?" and "How do you deal with a baby dying?" Um, well, alot of them don't die and when a baby does die, I cry like any other normal person would! I don't even try to explain that when a baby dies in the NICU, most likely it is an end to suffering and that in a way, it is a relief for the nurses to see that end. People don't understand what it is like to take care of a 23 weeker, most wouldn't even know what one looked like. Good luck in your new job, and know that you always have us here. We get it.
  8. by   TNUp2Jen
    If it weren't for you, they wouldn't feel anything at all. Guaranteed inbetween the discomfort of pokes and pricks are moments (even if few and far between) where you and the little ones can feel comfort and healing.
  9. by   hikernurse
    Aw thanks, guys. I really want people to understand a little bit of what we do--that we're helping them get better and that their stay in the NICU is temporary and definitely of benefit to them.


    Quote from preemieRNkate
    Good luck in your new job, and know that you always have us here. We get it.
    Thanks I've been following this forum for awhile, but haven't had anything of value to contribute. You guys do awesome work and I look forward to knowing you better.
  10. by   rn2bnwi
    As someone whose child was in the nicu , i think its an amazing thing you do and never once though the nicu nurses were hurting my baby. I say you proudly say i will be helping them, not hurting them.
  11. by   NeoNurseTX
    The response I get is mostly, OMG how do you deal with such sick babies? Nothing negative ever, just people saying they think what I do is honorable and they could never do it.

    I don't think it's honorable, it's just what I do and what I love doing.
  12. by   KatRNC
    Good luck in your new specialty. I love it. As for people who ask hard questions, I think once you're in the NICU you will be able to answer them better. For me, I would answer that question by replying that I do whatever I can to NOT hurt them, but pain is a part of life, and the goal is to unite the infant with the family in the best possible manner, so I do whatever I have to do to make that happen.

    Kat
  13. by   Preemienurse23
    What we do is for their benefit, just as any nurse does for their patient no matter if they are 1lb or 500lbs. Luckly ours dont remember what happens to them. I dont look forward to going to work to admit a 23 weeker or start an IV on a kid with no veins. I go to work knowing that what I do will make a difference in the lives of my babies and their familes.
    Plus I get to go to work a hold babies!!! Can they say that?
  14. by   KatRNC
    When I began, the theory was that preemies don't FEEL pain. Now it's come to that they don't REMEMBER.


    Too bad we can't talk to the former premies to hear what they felt and remember...

    Hmm, maybe we can... I think I will search for them.

    Kat

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