How sad is the NICU? Is there a personality type best suited to it? - page 2

by chunkiesundae 7,076 Views | 20 Comments

Hello all, I have considered a lot of details regarding my future career and there are many areas of nursing I think would be very satisfying and rewarding, not only personally but intellectually. I am very interested in... Read More


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    I've worked in NICU for over 7 years, and PICU for over a year now. PICU (at least the one I work in... Level I trauma center, transplants..) is by far MUCH sadder than the NICU.
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    MegNeo- I suppose that it being less sad than PICU is a good thing, but I've never experienced either, so it doesn't give me a point of reference lol! I can see how that would be true, however, based upon the fact that in PICU the children are older and there are probably auto tramas and things like that.

    Ceiling-cat- I agree that the drug addiction stuff is just plan nasty and depressing. I wish there was more we could do...or more the hospital system could do. Obviously nurses do their best to make these babies are comfortable as possible, but what could the hospital do to help the mothers?

    aerorunner- that does sound amazing and miraculous, and is so inspiring!! Makes me want to do this for sure.
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    Quote from chunkiesundae
    Obviously nurses do their best to make these babies are comfortable as possible, but what could the hospital do to help the mothers?
    Unfortunately, most of the Moms don't want help. Nor are most of them willing to get clean. The ones that do get clean tend to relapse. I don't work in a NICU, but I do visitations for bio parents with their kids in foster care. Most of them don't make it to reunification. Several of them have lost more than one child. Many, many are drug addicts and just can't get clean. We've had people shoot up in our bathrooms.
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    I suppose that if they don't want help, or they don't want to get better (not that they don't per say, but drugs have hijacked their brains to the extent that it's all they care about) then that's pretty much where it ends. It is really sad.
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    Working in the NICU is very rewarding, but can also be very difficult at times. It's hard to see a baby struggle and suffer, but when they recover and come back to visit you, it's the best thing on earth!! You do get attached to them, it's hard not to, but the parents are usually grateful that you're there giving their babies all the TLC they need! Good luck!!
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    You definitely have to have tough skin and you shouldn't be an overly-emotional person. You will see deaths, but you'll also see babies that survive and you are able to know that you helped in that.
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    Chunkiesundae,
    I just wanted to let you know that I spent most of one weekend in a small animal hospital with my daughter & her 6 month old, 2 lb. teacup poodle puppy that suddenly went critical because of a inborn genetic problem (hepatic bypass?). It was totally deja vu for the NICU. The IV catheters, the monitoring equipment, the bloodwork, etc. I felt like I was at work. My daughter sat in the waiting room & wept buckets of tears & the final resolution was to remove the puppy from life support & monitoring. My heartbroken daughter held her bundled puppy while she died. It was emotionally wrenching. The similarity to NICU was very, very noticeable. I think you will do fine in a NICU. You don't realize it but you probably already have skills we use & the other part is compassion & heart. I know you have that or you wouldn't have asked your questions.
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    dixRN- Thank you so much for your post, gave me a little boost of confidence. Animal hospital work is not easy, and we were there 6 days a week for 9 hours a day...definitely an exercise in mental stamina. Not always easy to look on the bright side, but I suppose I always reconciled my difficulty by believing that 1., someone has to fight for the patients and keep an eye on them (those doctors get busy!) and 2., I can help make things as easy as they can be for the owner's. I feel like a lot of this resonates with the NICU- but having you say it makes a big difference.
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    And thank you to everyone who posted. I think I can do this!!!!!
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    i wanted to say that i'm glad to see that you are putting some real thought into the choice to go into this branch of nursing.

    as a nursing student and a mother who had 3 babies who all spent time in the NICU there are ALOT of my classmates who want to work in the NICU to the point it is almost cliche'. they all say as their motivation is that they LOVE CHILDREN. (our maternity clinical was done at a hospital with a level 1 nicu. so we didn't see any really sick babies. they were stable "growers".) but i don't think that they really understand the difficulties that come with that type of nursing. it's not playing with babies it's watching them die sometimes. dealing with parents who are out of their minds with worry and grief. it's handing a baby you have nursed through prematurity or illness to an person so incompetent and clueless you wouldn't trust them watch your cat because they are the parents and alot of other tough situations.

    the wonderful nurses in the NICU made a nightmare situation bearable for me. to say it's not easy is an understatement and not everyone is cut out for it. i know that i'm not.
    Last edit by bernikitty on Jan 22, '12 : Reason: misspelling
    Bortaz, RN likes this.


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