I THINK I love the NICU

  1. 0
    Hello nurses!

    I'm a nursing student that think she's fallen in love with the idea of being a NICU nurse. I start my OB/neonate rotation in 2 weeks. I am so excited and find my self YouTubing NICU nurse videos (the happy ending videos and the sad ones) every night even though in am really tired and have studied until 3 am. I know I definitely want to be a critical nurse and this far in my pediatric rotation I have taken care of lots of babies younger than 4 mos.

    I am curious to hear, what you LOVE about NICU nursing and What you least like?

    How nervous where you in the beginning?

    What advice to you have for me, an eager newbie?
    ***** I ask this question in particular because I have a chance to shadow 2 NNPs. How do I maximize that experience? What should I know before I shadow?


    Thank you so much! Your responses will allow this wide-eyed nursing student to get off YouTube and perhaps sleep a little more at night?
    Take care!
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  4. 5 Comments so far...

  5. 4
    Love: the critical thinking aspect of my job (everything must be so precise because there is little room for error due to the patient's size and their critical status), the education I provide to my patient's loved ones, the long-term relationships I form with families and getting the privilege of witnessing a really sick kiddo transform into a po feeder and grower and eventually be discharged!

    Hate: Interacting with some drug addicted mothers who could have potentially birthed a healthy infant had their choices not got in the way, who never visit and when they do are sleeping or texting at the bedside. I hate the really sad cases, the patients with grade IV brain bleeds that you know will never live a "normal" life, the ones that the docs encourage the family to do only palliative care, but the families can't bring themselves to make that awful decision. The patients who die unexpectedly or families that never visit their kid or call for status updates for weeks at a time.

    I would be a sponge if I had an opportunity to observe in the NICU. Ask tons of questions! You probably won't be able to absorb 1/2 of it just yet, but ask the whys behind what they are doing for the neonate, what the ventilators are, why they chose this type of ventilation over another, the trajectory of the patient's likely course of treatment.

    I didn't know I loved the NICU until I got to shadow in there during nursing school...now I couldn't imagine doing anything else.
  6. 7
    Well, aside from the obvious things like the fact that babies are cute and working with new families is enjoyable (for the most part), here are some reasons I loved the NICU:

    1. Lifting babies does not break your back.


    When I worked med-surg for 2 years, I was out of work on 2 separate occasions for back injury. In 20 years of NICU nursing, I never once injured my back.

    2. Baby diapers are not nearly as potent as adult briefs.

    3. Babies don't talk back (though the parents can sometimes be jerks).

    4. It is very rewarding having a part in saving very sick babies, especially when they make it through with minimal deficits.

    5. Relaxing in a rocking chair with a warm, cuddly baby

    6. NICU is its own world. It is unique to all other areas of nursing.

    Things I didn't like:

    1. The stress of caring for critically ill babies is immense.

    2. Sick and premature babies are notoriously unpredictable. A baby can be fine one minute and dead before the end of your shift.

    3. Babies who are kept alive long past when they should have mercifully been allowed to die...

    4. Fighting to keep babies alive who end up being seriously neurologically impaired for the rest of their lives..

    5. NEC. See #2.

    6. Seeing the G20 crack addict prostitute deliver yet another baby who turns out fine while 2 beds over the nicest couple in the world who tried for 15 years to have a baby and finally got pregnant after the 5th IVF treatment lose their baby (It will seriously make your head spin sometimes).
    chare, NurseLeelaSmile, Satori77, and 4 others like this.
  7. 0
    Quote from zeus&lincoln
    Love: the critical thinking aspect of my job (everything must be so precise because there is little room for error due to the patient's size and their critical status), the education I provide to my patient's loved ones, the long-term relationships I form with families and getting the privilege of witnessing a really sick kiddo transform into a po feeder and grower and eventually be discharged! Hate: Interacting with some drug addicted mothers who could have potentially birthed a healthy infant had their choices not got in the way, who never visit and when they do are sleeping or texting at the bedside. I hate the really sad cases, the patients with grade IV brain bleeds that you know will never live a "normal" life, the ones that the docs encourage the family to do only palliative care, but the families can't bring themselves to make that awful decision. The patients who die unexpectedly or families that never visit their kid or call for status updates for weeks at a time. I would be a sponge if I had an opportunity to observe in the NICU. Ask tons of questions! You probably won't be able to absorb 1/2 of it just yet, but ask the whys behind what they are doing for the neonate, what the ventilators are, why they chose this type of ventilation over another, the trajectory of the patient's likely course of treatment. I didn't know I loved the NICU until I got to shadow in there during nursing school...now I couldn't imagine doing anything else.

    Thank you for your response!!! I love all the detail that you put into your response! Thanks for your advice

    I am so drawn to critical care nursing because if the critical thinking aspect. Everything has to be extremely accurate and detailed...this just works so well and comes easy to me because that's how my brain works. Anytime I study with fellow nursing students I am always the one the one who " gets too detailed" or is the "perfectionist" haha. I don't mind, because that is my nature. Even though I am busy in school now, I just checked out a critical care nursing book that provides basic CCRN info. Is there any book in particular that you would recommended that I check out? Any must have NICU books?

    Just this week I was given the opportunity to shadow a NICU nurse after I complete OB. I am so excited!
  8. 0
    Quote from Elle23
    Well, aside from the obvious things like the fact that babies are cute and working with new families is enjoyable (for the most part), here are some reasons I loved the NICU: 1. Lifting babies does not break your back. When I worked med-surg for 2 years, I was out of work on 2 separate occasions for back injury. In 20 years of NICU nursing, I never once injured my back. 2. Baby diapers are not nearly as potent as adult briefs. 3. Babies don't talk back (though the parents can sometimes be jerks). 4. It is very rewarding having a part in saving very sick babies, especially when they make it through with minimal deficits. 5. Relaxing in a rocking chair with a warm, cuddly baby 6. NICU is its own world. It is unique to all other areas of nursing. Things I didn't like: 1. The stress of caring for critically ill babies is immense. 2. Sick and premature babies are notoriously unpredictable. A baby can be fine one minute and dead before the end of your shift. 3. Babies who are kept alive long past when they should have mercifully been allowed to die... 4. Fighting to keep babies alive who end up being seriously neurologically impaired for the rest of their lives.. 5. NEC. See #2. 6. Seeing the G20 crack addict prostitute deliver yet another baby who turns out fine while 2 beds over the nicest couple in the world who tried for 15 years to have a baby and finally got pregnant after the 5th IVF treatment lose their baby (It will seriously make your head spin sometimes).
    Hello, thank you for your response!

    I never realized that NICU nursing would be easier on your back, but that is so true! That would be great for me, because as a high school athlete I have injured mine one too many times. I also loved your comment about spending time with the baby while in a rocking chair. That's so sweet, and that's one of my favorite experience of my pediatric clinical experience so far how can you not enjoy that!

    Also, I have heard that babies status change change in a matter of seconds. That is something that I always think about when caring for a child. When my RSV babies desat as they move and play around I get so nervous!!'

    Are there any books or resources that you recommend I check? Any book that prepped you well for the NICU and gave you the basics?
  9. 0
    I'm bumping your thread because I'm a student in the same position! Would love to hear from all the nicu nurses out there.


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