Is NICU for me?

  1. Hello all! I am currently an Adult ICU/step down nurse with a little over a year experience. I have always been interested in NICU but was always too afraid I couldn't handle death of an infant. Well, now that I've dealt with death on multiple occasions, I don't feel so intimidated by it anymore. It will be hard, but I know now I can adapt.

    I do not like my job at all here in the ICU. Adults are so entitled and I feel like I'm not doing any good anyway. I feel like I'm just putting a bandaid on all these comorbidities. I LOVE teaching and truly making a difference in my patients but I hardly see it.

    That being said, has anyone here gone from adults ICU or stepdown to the NICU and loved it? I heard in this post that NICU acuity isn't actually as critical as people may seem:

    Adult ICU RN interested in NICU

    is this true? If so, I'd probably enjoy it more. I hate being stressed out constantly wondering if my patient is going to code.

    Id appreciate any input you guys have!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   infantsonly
    If you are looking for a less stressful job, then NICU is definitely not for you. Working in a special care nursery or a newborn nursery would be a better option if you want to work with infants.

    You will care for critical infants if you work in a level 3 or 4 NICU. Infants that are on ventilators, oscillators, receiving nitric oxide, on numerous drips, etc. These infants may weigh less than a pound and have a limited number of lines to infuse through, meaning you constantly have to check compatibiltities, and make decisions about what needs to infuse through where. Infants that code, infants that go into DIC, infants with cardiac abnormalities pre or post operation. There will be infants with HIE and require cooling and rewarming... deliveries that don't go as planned...

    While you might not have an unstable patient every shift, you will still have them and need to know what to do and how to care for them.

    I'm not trying to discourage you, but it is an ICU, and it is stressful. Good luck!
  4. by   Emm_RN
    I am currently a NICU nurse although I'll be transferring to the PICU very soon. I can tell you that it is a nice mix. My NICU is a level 4 and we see the sickest babies who require ECMO, CRRT, cardiac drips, surgeries, etc. but we also see fairly healthy preems or full term babies who have a feeding intolerance and just need a few weeks to work on feeding/growing and may only have a feeding tube.
    It is nice because you may have a challenging day with a very sick kiddo and you may be taking them to the OR, they may code, etc, and then the next day you may have a few kids working on feeding and sleep in between care times. The change-up is nice and refreshing and you don't get burnt out very quickly as the acuity ranges so dramatically.
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do!
  5. by   OnTheSearch
    Do nurses on either of you guys' units choose to care for the feeder/grower, more stable ones, but are still trained for both?
  6. by   Guy in Babyland
    Quote from OnTheSearch
    Do nurses on either of you guys' units choose to care for the feeder/grower, more stable ones, but are still trained for both?
    If you want to care for stable feeder/growers, then work at a Level II NICU. Training you to handle Level III/IV babies and then only take feeder/ growers wastes a nursing position since they could have hired a nurse that is willing to take sicker babies.

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