Did I make the right decision!

  1. Hello everyone,
    I will be graduating in May, and have recently been hired on as a PICU nurse. In my heart I really wanted NICU, but it seems to have such a high burn out rate. I thought if I go to Picu I will develop more skills as a nurse with many different age groups.
    I am not a young grad 40 this year. I keep asking myself if I made the right decision. MY heart says NICU, but common sense tells me that I am not getting any younger so I need to have skills that I can carry over to a lower stress Peds unit or Dr office in the future.
    I love kids, and have had many years of experience with children, (photograher, big brothers, big sisters, scouts,clown) but when I see those babies my heart goes out to them.
    PICU nurses have I made the right decision???? HELP!!!
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    As someone who has worked in both, I very much prefer PICU. If it's the baby thing that's got you hung up, we get a lot of babies in our unit, some brand new, particularly in the winter during RSV season. Yesterday, of the 14 patients we had, nine were infants. In general, babies in NICU will have one or two of about six common problems: prematurity, respiratory distress, transient tachypnea of the newborn, persistent pulmonary hypertension, hypoglycemia or congenital anomalies. There's not much variety, and they're pretty hands-off patients. Care is clustered so that they are left undisturbed for as much of time as possible. In fact, with some of the developmental stuff they've introduced to the NICU in recent years, you might not actually even see your patients for much of the shift because the isolette will be covered to keep the baby in the dark and quiet. PICU is a different day every day, even with the same patient. You have to be sharp to be able to move from infant to teenager to preschooler and back to infant, and the variety of problems that bring them into hospital is infinite. AND (big plus!!) they interact with you when they're better. I really like working with a range of ages and developmental levels, and having to stretch myself everyday, and that's good for me. But in the end, your decision has to be yours. It sounds like you've been involved with a wide range of age groups and are comfortable with kids in general, so maybe PICU IS the right place for you. Then again, if you thrive on routine, it's not. Food for thought?
  4. by   JourneyCC
    I can't tell you how glad I am I chose PICU vs. ER as a new grad! For all the reasons you stated (except substitute ER for NICU). You will be so much more challenged and you will be learn all age groups up to adult (many 16+'er you will have are no different than an adult). You will gain vast knowledge and experience and be albe to go to almost any other unit with what you learn. It's normal to second guess.........I guess I just look at it (since I was 36 at graduation), that you have to maximize you time and take advantage faster than dabble around and find your niche. Give it a try for a year....re-evaluate, then decide.......if after that year, what have you Lost? If you went NICU first then after a year didn't like it, you'd be in a fix.

    Something a wise professor of mine said, "First figure out if you are a jack of all trades type person or a master of one type person BEFORE every choosing your specialty." That answer let me know which I should take I chose something that put me dealing with all sorts of situations vs. just a few repetitive ones. B/c I was honest with myself, I knew I'd burn out or get bored in a specialty like L&D, NICU, etc.......I knew I needed variety. If you however are a person that likes to master something, do NOT choose something with such variety or you'll be lost/overwhelmed. I guess it might help to ask yourself do you more easily get bored or overwhelmed? That will also help you know if you are a jack or master

    Hope that helps.
  5. by   freedom4
    one of things i like about nursing is the fact that you have so many options, but the hardest thing that i have found in choosing a job is that i have so many options.
    i guess i did make the right decision. i have lost sleep over it for about a month now. i am a type of person that loves variety. i get very bored doing the same thing day in day out.
    i guess i just needed some people with experience to say i made the right decision. i need to quit second guessing myself.

    thanks so much

    everything happens for a reason!!!
  6. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Listen sunny5608... You're going to have to listen to your instincts when you start working in PICU... no second guessing allowed!! I'm teasing, of course. I think your approach was bang-on. I do the same thing when I'm just not sure if what I'm thinking is correct. I'm famous for my surveys. I'll go to someone (or several someones) whose judgment I trust implicitly and say, "I'm taking a poll..." then tell them what I'm thinking and see if they think the same. (Naturally what they're thinking is, "Oh God!! Not another poll!!") It's very effective. My philosophy is that the only stupid question is the one you don't ask. You'll know soon enough who you can go to with questions and who will blow you off. Welcome to our world! I know you're going to love it here.
    Last edit by NotReady4PrimeTime on Feb 25, '07 : Reason: wanted to say some more!
  7. by   freedom4
    Janfrn thanks for the advice. I guess I just needed confirmation, like when I was a kid. I am looking forward to working in PICU, but also overwhelmed about what I have to learn. The hospital that I will be working at is a teaching hospital with a 16 week orientation, so I am sure they have a good orientation. Now I just have to figure out how I am going to work out 12 hour night shift with 3 kids. I worked as a tech, and nights and me never got along. I need my beauty sleep .
  8. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Sixteen weeks is a good orientation (I got five shifts on this job, and four weeks on the one before it); hopefully you'll only have one or at most two preceptors. The learning curve is pretty steep, but not insurmountable. And I totally agree about the night thing. I love working nights, but I don't always sleep well, so I negotiated a nice rotation that has me working a day followed by a night, then a couple of days off. I never get turned around, although I do drag my butt around a bit. My three kids are adults now; the youngest is severely handicapped and totally dependent, but we've made it work. You'll find something that works for you.
  9. by   freedom4
    something a wise professor of mine said, "first figure out if you are a jack of all trades type person or a master of one type person before every choosing your specialty."

    journeycc i think your professor was a wise one. his (her) quote makes perfect sense. i guess because i am not getting any younger, that i am kind of in a hurry. i thank you and janfrn for writing back. i know now that i am headed in the right direction, but not sure of the destination.



    everything happens for a reason. just follow the signs!
  10. by   freedom4
    I am on spring break right now, Oh how I do need it. We had a test last week, and I had to turn around this week and have a final with new information. I am so burn out that I barely studied. VERY big MISTAKE!!. Oh well made it through the class and only 8 weeks left to go.
    YEAH!!!!!!
    :hatparty:
    My kids are at school, and I have been reading through all of the PICU threads. I can tell that most days people that work PICU love their jobs. I am so excited to get out of school and get into the real world.
    My family I know will be glad when I am finished. They know to stay away from mom when a test is coming up.
    Thanks for all the advice girls. Keep up the good work.

    Sunny5608

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