If you want background stories, I'll tell you mine.
I worked for almost 16 years in state corrections, including 14 years on death row as an officer and as a supervisor. Followed that up with gang intervention and a bit of mental health on the prison level. Also did county sheriff's dept part time for many years.
I became a nurse at 41. Went directly into the NICU out of school, after doing my preceptorship there in my last nursing school
semester. I knew from my first semester in school that I wanted NICU. I was fascinated by it because my first grandchild was in a NICU for a few days.
Being an ol' dude, I have gotten some funny looks from people when I told them I wanted to be a NICU nurse. Especially when they think about my transition from death row to the NICU.
It's the best decision I've ever made, though. I love the career (though not always loving the job/people), and will never do any other type of nursing, if I have a choice.
Sitting in my home office, typing this, I can look to the right and see pictures, cards, gifts, and letters of thanks from some of the parents whose babies I've cared for in the 3 years I've done this. I keep them all, and they are very precious to me.
I recently attended the 1st birthday parties of two of my favorite past patients...two of the sickest 24-26 weekers that I've ever been assigned. I was very proud of the fact that MY CARE contributed to the fact that those precious babies were alive and eating 1st-birthday-cake. I saw one of them just last week, at our local March of Dimes Walk-a-thon. The hug of gratitude from the mother meant a lot to me. Snuggling the baby again meant more.
Of course, not all cases in the NICU (especially a level III) are happy endings. I lost the very first patient I ever cared for, after having her for 3 months. I was devastated. Attending the funeral of that precious human was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I've lost too many others over the intervening 3 years. It's hard. It hurts. It makes me angry when I lose one after fighting SO HARD to keep them alive.
It's also HARD when you have parents that insist on "doing everything!", when you know the baby has no chance in hell, and "doing everything" is doing nothing other than torturing the baby AND the parents (and the nurse). I've prayed for babies to die...before entering the field, I'd have never imagined doing so.
To sum it up, though, the good FAR, FAR outweighs the bad. I am passionate about my work in the NICU. I've never been able to say that about a job before. I love what I do, I love the babies, and I'm glad life led me down this path. I wish I'd found it 20 years earlier.
Good luck to you.