questioning postpartum nursing?

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    Hi everybody! I have been a postpartum nurse for the past year and a half, and I absolutely love it. Not only do I love my job, but I love where I work and the people that I work with. However, I do find myself getting a little bored sometimes looking at the same old breast or perineum. I sometimes think that I am less of a nurse because I only do mother/baby nursing. I don't start IV's, take care of really sick patients, or exercise my critical care nursing skills I learned in nursing school. I mean there is the occasional PPH or PIH, or TTN in baby's, but I bascially take care of healthy patients. Does anyone else feel this way in mother/baby nursing? Should I switch positions even though I love my job to be more challenged as a nurse? Just wondering what people think...
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    I did mother baby for the first 2 years also after nrsg school, and sometimes i did feel the same way..not too much of a challenge for me. BUT i definitely knew the areas the i was NOT interested in, like med surg, ICU, that just wasnt for me. I didnt feel LESS of a nurse doing PP, i enjoyed the teaching aspect of it. With postpartum you have to be really pt, assess the entire needs of the family and babe. Its funny bc other nurses in other areas would cringe at the site of a newborn (and not know where to begin).
    Since i did not have a med surg background, I did also begin L/D. I enjoy it, but it is very stressful. I am more mentally tired, than phsically tired..I guess it just depends on where u see yourself. Why not try labor, or peds if you seek more of challenge. good luck!
    OnlybyHisgraceRN and misha8210 like this.
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    Quote from kgregoRN11
    Hi everybody! I have been a postpartum nurse for the past year and a half, and I absolutely love it. Not only do I love my job, but I love where I work and the people that I work with. However, I do find myself getting a little bored sometimes looking at the same old breast or perineum. I sometimes think that I am less of a nurse because I only do mother/baby nursing. I don't start IV's, take care of really sick patients, or exercise my critical care nursing skills I learned in nursing school. I mean there is the occasional PPH or PIH, or TTN in baby's, but I bascially take care of healthy patients. Does anyone else feel this way in mother/baby nursing? Should I switch positions even though I love my job to be more challenged as a nurse? Just wondering what people think...
    Please don't take my answer the wrong way. It is meant to be lighthearted, not critical.

    Just get over it!!!

    I think all nurses have the feeling at one time or another that they are "losing skills, not doing REAL nursing," etc. and it is always unjustified.

    Every area of nursing is highly specialized and requires a unique knowledge base and skill set. To believe that one area of nursing is easier or less valuable than another is to be seriously misinformed. If you need proof of that, simply ask a seasoned trauma nurse to attend a C-section and do baby care. (And watch him/her run like the wind!) Or ask a mother-baby nurse to attend to a patient experiencing a psychotic episode, and watch her bolt.

    We all have strengths, weaknesses, preferences, and experience that draw us to a certain area of care where we "fit". We best serve our patients and ourselves when we acknowledge that and choose jobs that are compatible with these characteristics. I am an excellent NICU nurse (if I do say so myself), but would make a terrible med-surg nurse, because the patient population does not interest me. I would still have a good skill set and knowledge base, but would not enjoy my job, and that would hold me back from being and doing my best.

    I had a brief crisis, believing that I was "losing my skills" about 5 years into my nursing career. It led me to take an LDRP job where I dusted off my adult assessment and patient care skills. I enjoyed it, but was still drawn back to my home in the NICU. The experience was valuable in that it gave me a better perspective on the pregnancy complications that produce NICU babies, and a better understanding of mothers' post-partum needs.

    It also didn't hurt that I left a job in a dysfunctional NICU to go to work in a very well-run LDRP. So I got the best of both worlds: a quality unit on which to work where I could expand my experience. That was much different from leaving a job that I liked to try an entirely different area of care simply to validate my worth as a nurse.

    So, my very long-winded advice to you is not to leave a job and unit you like simply to prove that you are a REAL nurse. If you truly have a strong desire to learn another area of care, then research your options and find a well-run unit on which to work and learn. It would also be a good idea to stay on prn at your current job so that if you find your new job does not meet your expectations you can go back.
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    I would feel that way if I did not do "it all". This is why I chose to work in a setting that has LDRP (labor/delivery/postpartum)-----all-in-one-room care. I care for all patients in the women's health care spectrum, from labor/delivery to postpartum, newborns and also gynecological surgical care as well! I am rarely bored as I get to do a little of everything. I prefer labor/delivery and love to care for labor patients. But it is sure nice to follow their care into their recovery and postpartum phases as well.

    I know for a fact, I would not be happy soley in mother-baby nursing. I want variety. This is why I like doing LDRP and GYN surgical nursing so much. It's a bit different each day.

    Can you perhaps try cross-training into L/D or GYN care? This may be the cure "for what ails you".....
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    I wonder the same thing working as a psych RN - if I am 'losing skills.' I don't mind my job, even though i wish I was starting and hanging IV's, auscultating hearts and lungs, ect. Part of the reason I did take this job was b/c it is part time, night hours which is what was most important to me to have d/t family reasons.

    I will tell you, I just had a baby 9 months ago and I have great respect for the L&D and PP nurses, even though I know I couldn't be one!

    I don't like RN's telling others that they aren't 'real nurses.'
    Last edit by hope3456 on Jan 24, '07
    macooper3 likes this.
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    Jolie is right. Everybody is, really.

    I feel bored sometimes...then I get a bad pp hemorrhage or a baby that crashes, just for complaining. That serves to remind me real fast that we are indeed "real nurses" and we do have our own crises, as does each area of nursing.

    BTW, hope3456, kudos to you for being a psych nurse. I couldn't do it but am glad someone else can.
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    ALL nurses are "real nurses" and skill sets vary by specialty and setting. I am just concerned about your apparent boredom....if you really feel bored, might want to broaden your horizons a bit.

    but never doubt you ARE a real nurse with REALLY valuable skills!
    busymommy likes this.
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    Quote from Arwen_U

    BTW, hope3456, kudos to you for being a psych nurse. I couldn't do it but am glad someone else can.
    This is such a good point! I graduated from college and vowed that I would never take care of a sick adult as long as I lived. Knock on wood, I've never had to, because there are saints called med-surg and ER nurses who do.

    We are fortunate to have a profession that allows us to pursue our interests, knowing that there are talented and dedicated people eager to care for everyone else!
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    i too, have worked in postpartum. before that was med surge for a few yrs. i worked 12hr nights, so most of my shift seemed to be breastfeeding. i was getting a little bored with it but no chance to move to days in the horizon. we had a pt take a turn and needed to have an appy...i was the first to suggest that was the case. i decided that i was too young (24-25) to be where i was and wanted to do more things with my skills i had built in the med surge area. so i went to gyn pacu. now the thing is, i believe that "not losing your skills" is not a good way to think if u have found the perfect niche for you, because as nurses we have been exposed to so much...and everything in every dept that nurses do can be learned. noone just KNOWS everything in their dept, they must have learned it at some point. so go ahead, work postpartum, enjoy it and use all the skills u need there. then if u ever move on u can brush up on old skills and learn new ones.
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    Perhaps you could look into working on a unit that takes care of more high risk PP moms that would challenge your skills more. But you ARE a real nurse. lol


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