Is NICU right for me?

  1. I have 5 yrs of Med surg/Tele and I'm ready to change specialty. I've thought about other adult specialties but NICU and L&D is sort of tucked away in my mind. I become nervous around kids and babies. It's hard to explain. It's an awkwardness I guess. I don't have kids of my own but would love to some day. For this reason I never given NICU or L&D much thought. I honestly don't remember hating it during my clinicals in school. Is the nervousness of babies something that goes away with experience, or is it better for someone that has an "omg I love babies" attitude?
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  2. 2 Comments

  3. by   NICURN7
    I have a little over a year of level IV NICU experience. If you aren't nervous the first few times you lay your hands on a 400g baby there is something seriously wrong with you! But yes, it's completely normal to be nervous around newborns I think. They are very fragile and can turn on you on a dime, I mean literally in the blink of an eye. Kids compensate so well and then crash and burn furiously. Their tiny bodies demand respect, proficiency, and great attention to detail. It takes some real fine tuning and a legit skill set to recognize a slight decline for what it is, and what it could be. It can be terrifying. I work with so many nurses who have previous med/surg experience and they all tell me our deaths are so much more difficult to cope with than deaths in the adult world. It's very different. I absolutely love my job to pieces though and I am so happy I ended up where I did. It's rewarding and it's tough, but all nursing is tough! We are a bunch of iron clad folks. We're built for it. Go where your heart leads you, try something new if you're up for the challenge. That is my best advice
  4. by   llg
    I suggest you ask for an opportunity to spend a little time in the NICU as part of your interview process -- either a long, extended tour that goes right up to the bedside -- or a shadow experience. I spent 14 years coordinating the orientations of NICU nurses and could usually tell from touring them around the unit which ones would not work out due to that nervousness.

    A little nervousness is normal. But if walking up to the bedside and just touching the kid freaks you out, than NICU is probably not a good choice for you. The people who are most likely to be successful in making the transition from adults to NICU are those that find the babies fascinating -- and lean forward when getting a chance to get close. Those who shrink back and seem uncomfortable being in the same room often struggle and don't complete orientation. No one wants to be that uncomfortable in their daily workplace and the temptation to run away -- back to a population they are comfortable with is too great.

    Why would you want to work somewhere that makes you so uncomfortable? Why not work with a population that attracts you?

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