Leaving NICU for....

  1. Hi everyone,

    I am just feeling a little weird...here's why. I have been a NICU nurse for 2 years, and have loved every moment learning and becoming a better nurse. Then about 1 year into it, I lost a 23 week infant to abruption. My heart kind of fell and I wasn't sure if I could go back to the NICU...but 3 weeks later I pulled through with lots of emotions. My bereavment nrs left an impact on me, and I thought 1 day I think I would like to do bereavement.

    My husband is in the army and we just got stationed in this little tiny town 1 1/2 hours from the nearest NICU. All babies are transported out, and there is NO opportunity for a NICU nurse here. Bad Bad thing for a NICU nurse wouldn't you all agree?

    So I applied at some home health and hospice facilities, and was offered any job I wanted. Today I accepted the hospice job, and feel I will be a good hospice nurse and will like it. But in the back of my mind I think, "what about the babies?" I know there isn't a NICU opportunity here, but do you think when I leave here I will be able to get back into NICU, if my heart so desires? I am really worried about this, since I really feel my calling is to be a NICU nurse.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   llg
    If you go back to NICU within few years, you should have little trouble -- only the usual trouble of adjusting to a new unit. However, in my experience coordinating NICU orientations for about 15 years, few people are successful at going back if they have been gone more than 10 years.

    I was away from NICU for 6 years once and was able to go back -- but the technology changes, etc. were difficult to cope with. Now, I have been gone from the NICU again for the past year and a half. I doubt I will be going back, but you never know.

    Good luck with your new job.

    llg
  4. by   nicudaynurse
    I feel your pain although my situation is a little different. I had been a NICU nurse for 2 and a half years and decided to leave for better schedule and less stress. I ended up in a childrens hospital working in the pediatric neurology clinic. When I left the NICU I knew I would be eventually be back, but I wasn't sure when.

    Anyway after a little over two years in the neurology clinic I decided to return to the NICU. I found a job fairly quickly in the NICU and it didn't take me long at all to readjust to taking care of the little ones, although within the last year I was working an occasional agency shift in the NICU. A nurse that got hired the same time I did had been out of the NICU for the last 7 years and was working in the insurance business and so far she is doing fine.

    Two weeks ago I decided to return to my old job and stay on PRN in the NICU. I went back to the old job because I realized that I enjoy the no stress and predictability of the job. The NICU will always be my first love and passion, but there is a level of anxiety and stress that I just can't get past. I am planning on working about 2 shifts a month so I can "keep my hand in" I know I wouldn't be happy if I was completely away from the NICU.

    Every experience in nursing is valuable and always a learning experience. I'm sure that you will enjoy and be good in hospice, but it will be a lot different than the NICU. You shouldn't have problems returning to the NICU after a few years. Maybe you could work one or two shifts a month at the nearest NICU. I know that would be stretching it quite a bit, but maybe it could be an option.

    Anyway good luck in your new position.
  5. by   dawngloves
    Is there a mother/baby home visit agency you could work for? Do follow up visits with preemies?
  6. by   jnette
    Originally posted by dawngloves
    Is there a mother/baby home visit agency you could work for? Do follow up visits with preemies?
    Yes !!! Wouldn't THAT be wonderful ? Great idea. I'd check into that, too.
  7. by   jeffinerrn
    You are daring to try something new! congrats!! Your personal experience will be a tremendous help to you and your clients. I have had some personal experience myself and know that it is a great help in dealing with families. It also helps me to be able to work with them.
  8. by   NicuNsg
    You should see if you have a PPEC in your area.....
    Do a search for either PPEC or Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care, it is a facility that cares for the NICU grads. These kiddos can get their nsg and all their therapies under one roof and go home at the end of the day!!! I have been employed at one for 3 years as a tech, and now that I have graduated I want forge ahead with my dream of being a NICU nurse. Unfortunately this area sounds like yours, so I am moving and have accepted a position in a Lvl III unit in a metro area here in Florida.
    PPEC are always looking for good experienced nurses (especially NICU nurses!) These PPEC are hard to find, especially if you aren't looking for it (take it from a parent who knows). It is worth a shot! I wish you all the luck!!!

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