Quote from BittyBabyGrower
Sometimes I think we are a PICU....we hang on to those chronics until their first birthday and sometimes longer~! We aren't doing them any justice that is for sure.
We readmit kids that were in our unit...they are isolated until all the viral screens come back...what a PITA that is as that patient is one-on-one until then! We will take them back for up to 2 weeks after d/c and then they go to peds (I have no idea how they came up with that timeframe :chuckle )
We also readmit overnight for laser eye surgery...we do them on the unit (we have a special room for that) once again, that child is isolated.
This is exactly what our unit does as well.
We'll also admit new babies from the ER if they are a homebirth or if they're less than a week old with neonatal-specific conditions - hyperbili, NEC, etc.
Every hospital has it's own policies and procedures, and sometimes it even depends on what doctors are on or what the PICU/NICU census is at the moment.
But the answer the original poster's question: in general, if you want to work specifically with babies, go to the NICU. If you want to work with children of all ages (0-18+ years) go to the PICU. Whether the PICU takes newborns or not isn't really the point - the point is that you won't get an 18-year-old in the NICU!
The emotions are about the same, from what I can tell. Working with sick or dying children and their families is very stressful. But I can tell you for sure that in the NICU, probably 90% or more of your patients WILL go home someday, so that helps get you through the tough times.