Adult ICU to NICU

Specialties NICU


  • by ello7
    Specializes in ICU.

Sorry if there has been previous threads discussing this. I currently work in an adult ICU setting, and I was considering a change and looking for a job in NICU. Are there any current NICU RNs out there who started off working with adults? I was just curious on how difficult it is to change from dealing with adults to tiny babies. Any input would be appreciated!

Thank you :redbeathe

I did! I did ICU/CCU before I went to NICU. Aside from getting used to the different VS parameters ( HR 140??! Oh, wait. That's OK.), vent settings( the TV is what??),and the different drug dosages (how the heck do I give.05 of morphine?), it's not all that different. I mean it's more pulmonary issues I feel, but you know your A&P and diagnoses and interventions already so you already have your head in the game.

More teaching too. Parents are there a lot and you are teaching them, not the baby. ;)


39 Posts

Specializes in Adult Critical Care/Neonatal ICU.

I know exactly what you mean dawngloves! I recently switched from adult critical care to the NICU (and loving every minute of it). You definitely need to realize that VS for the NICU population are very different than adults. I was laughing the other night when I took a BP and the systolic was in the 50's. I told my co-worker that a BP like that in my "old world" would have had me running like a loon grabbing saline, levophed, etc. Now I just write it down. It didn't take long to learn that a heart rate of 70 is not good, but a HR of 180 is ok. lol

I thought there was a zero missing when I heard the TV setting on the vent. The dosages are much different and I think there is more math involved in the NICU than adults. Between figuring out dosages and fluids/calories per 24 hours, there is a lot of math. I don't think it's hard, just more math than I ever used to do in the adult world.

I think a lot of your assessment skills will carry over but there are many new things to learn about assessing a newborn and/or preemie. There are also many diseases or prenatal conditions to learn about and how they affect the baby and what type of things to be watching for based on those diseases/disorders.

As many things that are different, I will NEVER be going back to adults. I love the NICU and have wanted to work there for a very long time. I never had the urge to smooch any of my adult patients and I have to fight that urge every shift with the little kiddos. If you have wanted to work in the NICU for a long time, I say go for it. Good luck!

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