PICU, NICU, Peds Med/Surg? (long)

  1. I'm a nursing student in my third (out of four) semester. I have a ways to go but before I know it, I'm going to have to start interviewing for jobs. I already know that I want to go into something related to pediatrics but there are so many choices.
    I've been thinking NICU since before I started nursing school. I haven't had my peds rotation yet, but I have had OB and was in the nursery for two 12 hour days. I've never had clinical days that great...and I know the nursery is very different from NICU, but one baby I was working with went into respiratory distress and we had to take him up to the NICU and it was then that I thought "I think this is what I want to do."
    But, as usual, I'm starting to second guess myself. I'm wondering if the fact that most patients have the same diagnosis in the NICU will get to me after a while. I only say that because I just switched floors in clinical and I'm now in a cardiac floor. I know first of all, that cardiac specialties aren't for me (I'm not sure why, it just isn't my thing) and second of all, I really don't like the lack of variety in the patients. Turns out that I like variety more than I knew...
    Which led me to think of PICU. It seems like that speciality has the most variety out of all of them. But I'm wondering if it'd be TOO much variety. Also, one of the things that makes me interested in the NICU is being able to follow the babies and families until discharge. That doesn't seem like the case in PICU...
    We have a Children's hospital near here, and other options are Pediatric Med/Surg (I'm not an adult med/surg person and I think I would prefer some form of ICU since I'd rather be with 1-2 patients with a higher acuity, but was thinking Peds Med/Surg may be a way to get some experience) , Peds Onc/Hemo (I've really thought about this one. I just spent about 5 weeks on an adult oncology floor and really like oncology. I'm also going to be doing my work study in the same oncology floor so I feel like I would at least know something about oncology, even if I still would have so much to learn about pediatrics) and Peds Oncology ICU. Peds Oncology ICU is also starting to interest me more and more.
    I didn't mean to write such a long post! I guess I'm talking things through to myself more than anything, but any advice from any peds nurses out there would be great!
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   Rnita09
    does your hospital have a peds transitional care unit? You would get med/surg kids, kids that need monitoring and kids that come from the PICU. I work on a TCU floor and have gotten a lot of experience with all different diagnosis.
  4. by   randybayrn
    One thing that may help is to log onto the forum for PICU vs NICU. Read the overall attitude that the nurses have for their jobs and get an idea of what people think about their positions. It seems to me like NICU nurses are generally very happy with their jobs. They also seem to like to take on new grads and teach them. I have heard that starting in the NICU is great because the med calcs and dosages are so small that people from other areas have problems with it. Also what about cross training to the PICU after a year or two. Many times NICU floats to PICU and visa versa.
  5. by   NurseLatteDNP
    I am trying to get a NICU internship, but in the process I got an offer for a PICU. I don't think I will take it, because I am afraid to get attached to those little ones in the PICU. I think I will be depressed every day, becasue I have a little daughter at home. Every time I would have to take care of a 4 yr old, I would be thinking of her.
  6. by   RN2UBaby
    Hi! I've been a NICU nurse for 15 years, and in reading your assessment of the NICU, (that most patients have the same diagnosis), I must tell you that the very reason I have stayed in the NICU for so long is the variety of diagnoses, plus I simply love it there! They will have some commonalities, I agree. They are premature, premature and sick, or term and sick. However, no two cases are just alike. We get everything from major anomalies, deformed hearts, pneumonia, extreme RDS...you name it, we get it! I love taking care of preemies, with their tiny little trusting personalities. I call them "little eaglets without feathers". If you are looking for a unit that is totally built on teamwork, the NICU is it. I've cross-trained in ED. It was okay, and the nurses who work there love it. I'm glad to know that they are there. But as for me, they can have that brand of "excitement". (Can you believe that a former paramedic would say that?) There is no unit quite like a NICU! When we have preemies and sick terms rolling through the door as fast as we can get them admitted, that's plenty of excitement for me!

    Good luck in your search for the right specialty for yourself. Lots of choices out there!

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