Why do you love the PICU?

  1. I am a nursing student who has already been offered and accepted a position in a local PICU. I truly thought that is what I wanted to do, but now in the last stretch of RNing school I am really questioning everything.

    Recently, I have become very trepidatious - okay, scared to death. I have completed my pediatric and ICU rotations and am truly realizing the gravity of the responsibility that accompanies PICU nursing. I have recently been considering switching to the OR and starting anew with the interview process.

    I feel that I am running away from the tremendous challange (that I know I am fully capable of accomplishing) and would appreciate any reinforcement that veteran PICU RNs may have to offer. All I can see right now is the daunting aspect of it. If you would, please take a little time and elucidate the positive side of this kind of nursing... the side that initially captivated me and magnetically drew me towards it... the side of which I have lost sight...
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  2. 4 Comments

  3. by   UK2USA
    Quote from log0phile
    I feel that I am running away from the tremendous challange (that I know I am fully capable of accomplishing) and would appreciate any reinforcement that veteran PICU RNs may have to offer. All I can see right now is the daunting aspect of it. If you would, please take a little time and elucidate the positive side of this kind of nursing... the side that initially captivated me and magnetically drew me towards it... the side of which I have lost sight...
    I am so sorry to hear that you are having second thoughts, but this is absolutely normal. As you finish your training it is very easy to become daunted by the transition from student to RN and the responsibilities that this entails. It is not something that is unique to the PICU environment and my gut instinct is that you would be feeling this way no matter which area of nursing you entered.
    As for the reasons to join PICU, well I can only tell you about the satisfaction I get from this high-demand area:
    As a nurse in the PICU I get to work in a fast paced environment where I learn something new every day. I get to treat children that are so sick and meet families that are experiencing the worst time of their lives. There are no promises that we can restore the child to their previous way of life, but we give it our best shot. This means that we are always thinking 2 or 3 steps down the line - trying to troubleshoot before a problem has even presented itself. The respect a PICU nurse gets from other nurses is quite amazing and it is given in the knowledge that no matter how sick a child is the PICU nurse will always cope. If things go wrong for a patient we can make the last hours or days of life a time filled with love and respect. Even when this happens, knowing that I have done as much as I can it can be satisfying in an odd way... I guess it stems from the fact that if it is done well then the family is completely prepared and at ease with the outcome.

    Having said all of this, don't worry if PICU isn't what you want straight away. There is plenty of time to come back to the PICU after getting your feet wet somewhere else. I hope you make the decision that will be right for you. Good Luck.
  4. by   blueinplaid
    Quote from UK2USA
    I am so sorry to hear that you are having second thoughts, but this is absolutely normal. As you finish your training it is very easy to become daunted by the transition from student to RN and the responsibilities that this entails. It is not something that is unique to the PICU environment and my gut instinct is that you would be feeling this way no matter which area of nursing you entered.
    As for the reasons to join PICU, well I can only tell you about the satisfaction I get from this high-demand area:
    As a nurse in the PICU I get to work in a fast paced environment where I learn something new every day. I get to treat children that are so sick and meet families that are experiencing the worst time of their lives. There are no promises that we can restore the child to their previous way of life, but we give it our best shot. This means that we are always thinking 2 or 3 steps down the line - trying to troubleshoot before a problem has even presented itself. The respect a PICU nurse gets from other nurses is quite amazing and it is given in the knowledge that no matter how sick a child is the PICU nurse will always cope. If things go wrong for a patient we can make the last hours or days of life a time filled with love and respect. Even when this happens, knowing that I have done as much as I can it can be satisfying in an odd way... I guess it stems from the fact that if it is done well then the family is completely prepared and at ease with the outcome.

    Having said all of this, don't worry if PICU isn't what you want straight away. There is plenty of time to come back to the PICU after getting your feet wet somewhere else. I hope you make the decision that will be right for you. Good Luck.
    Why I love the PICU, let me count the ways... actually before i count the ways, let me say that having second thoughts is perfectly normal. If you didn't, well, let's say that the newer nurses I've worked with who were confident made me scared! I love the PICU because I like thinking. With children, you don't know what's going to happen, so you have to be on your toes. It's a challenge to concentrate, to understand what's going on with my patient, and to work not only with my patient but his family also. I was scared but loved learning when I first got here. That is what the orientation period is for. Orient, see what you think when you actually get your hands and your heart into it. You're not going to take the sickest kids right away, but be ready to learn and ask questions and be tugged emotionally.
    Feel free to pm me if you want some extra encouragement!
  5. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Oh yes, second thoughts are not anything to feel bad about. Fear of the unknown is a pretty strong influence. Having said that, I hope you find your niche.

    I love PICU for some of the reasons already listed: thinking, doing, feeling. Kids are amazing and caring for them is very worthwhile. Every shift is different, every child is different and every family is different. Ours is probably the broadest scope of practice out there, dealing as we do with neonates one day and teenagers the next. We see everything from open heart surgery, respiratory illness, trauma, transplants, craniofacial remodelling to simple dental surgery on a child with unidentified pseudocholinesterase deficiency. We care for surgical patients, medical patients, oncology patients, palliative care patients and chronic care patients all in the same space. The knowledge base needed to be a good PICU nurse is astounding, but not out of reach for the average person who has the desire to develop it. We have a great deal of autonomy and provide state-of-the-art care. And the rewards are unequaled. When those little ones come back to visit, healthy and happy, there is no better feeling. As for the ones we can't save, it still feels good to know that what I've done for this child and family made a difference. Hugs are free where I work.
  6. by   log0phile
    Thank you all for your words of encouragement. I suppose it is better to be apprehensive rather than feel that I know it all. All of your thoughts have helped to quell my fears. I'm still in awe of the responsibility that lies ahead, but you guys have really nailed my initial love of this area; I'm not sure how it slipped out of perspective. It is hard determining the area of nursing with which my personality and skills are most compatible, but I believe it is the PICU and I look forward to it. Blueinplaid, I will pm you as my time draws more near; I know I will need the encouragement you offered (thank you).

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