Am I Not fit for the Nicu?

Specialties NICU


I want to become Neonatal nurse but I happen to be a very sensitive person and Am not sure If I am fit for the Nicu. I had a horrible experience in one of my classes at the end of my sophomore year I am a Jr. now. My School is attached to a technology school that has a health program, Culinary, vet Est. for high school students to experience and gain knowledge at different career fields I am Currently in the Health program which will help me on my way to becoming a Neonatal nurse. Anyway there is a bell that always sounds in that part of the school sounding when class is over and starting. A girl was sitting next to me in the classroom closet to the bell, the door was open the girls eyes went blank the teacher went over to her called her name asked if she was OK and she didn't respond. All of a sudden the girls lip and hand curled up, she started having a seizure right in front of me. I was absolutely terrified I was frozen in shock and I couldn't look away from her. She is very sensitive to sound and a lot of sounds will cause her to have one. for the last couple of months of my sophomore year I couldn't go near her, I had nightmares about having, Any sound that was sharp that I heard scared me half to death. I had a ferbral seizure when I was just a Baby because of a flu my temp was up to 105. I was scared since this happend once it could happen again I was in state of fear for about 6 months until I finally got over it. It still bothers me when people talk about epilepsy or when I hear or see the word seizure. I have come to the conclusion that I must get over my fears to become a Neonatal nurse. Babies don't always live and most are in bad condition. I always say to myself suck it up you have to be able to handle this to do your dream job. Will being to sensitive make it impossible to become a Neonatal Nurse or will I be able to over come it to get into the career I dream of?

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I suggest you find out whether or not you can get over your severe sensitivities before you invest a lot of time, effort, and money in a nursing career. Knowing what you know about yourself, it would be foolish to simply go ahead without dealing with your emotional reactions to things first.

You might consider volunteering in a hospital ... or becoming a nursing assistant ... etc. to put yourself in a position where you would have to be around sickness, injury, disability, and death to see how you would react. If you can handle it, then proceed with your nursing plans. If you can't handle it, then it's better to find out sooner rather than later.

Specializes in Neonatal ICU.

I am a very sensitive person and I decided to pursue a nursing career. I'll tell you my story. :)

I always knew I wanted to be a NICU RN, even before I decided to go to nursing school. I vividly remember telling my mom this and she said "You're too sensitive to do that. You know those babies die, right?" I thought it over and, since my mother really is never wrong, I agreed with her. Fast forward ~10 years and I am finally in nursing school. I was telling myself that I wanted to be an OR RN. All through the 1st semester and part of the 2nd semester, it was my goal. Then I shadowed an OR nurse... And I just knew in my heart it wasn't for me. There is nothing wrong with the specialty at all, but there was no way I could do it and be happy. I started to reconsider my original NICU aspirations.

My next semester was OB/Pedi. I started with OB and one of the babies had a few problems after birth, and all I cared about was the baby. Mom kind of fell into the shadows for me. We also toured a NICU. From the moment I stepped foot in that nursery, I knew. Then a few weeks later I got to complete my clinical time and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, I had to become a NICU nurse.

I landed my dream job right out of school and I couldn't be more in love with my job. I love everything about it. I have been there almost a year now, and I cannot believe how fast it has gone or how much I have learned. I am still very sensitive. I have cried more times at work than I care to admit. You will see some sad things, and it is ok to cry. I mean, don't break down to the point that you cannot care for your patients, but sometimes you just can't help it. I saw a nurse who has been there for over 15 years cry while she was charting. We are humans, it's normal, and I don't think that sensitivity should exclude a particular specialty. Also realize that you aren't going to be surrounded by death and suffering every single minute that you are at work..

I do agree with the above poster about the seizure sensitivity you have. I am hoping that your RN training will help lessen your fear of them, once you know what to do in that situation.

I wish you all the best!

Thank you both for your responses. The thing is I have no idea what will trigger my anxiety. I have had to deal with seeing a lot of gruesome stuff Such as seeing my dad in the hospital in critical condition. He had a tube down his throat (Is it an called an ET tube? I'm trying to learn what things are called) He had wires attach to him. The doctor told me he might not live so he let me see him. He was on a table eyes wide open and unresponsive with nurses all around him. It didn't scare me at all I was completely calm. I've seen a car crash by my house, A Guy rolled his car reaching for his cellphone His arm was bloody and the bone was sticking out ( he was lucky to be alive). There are so many things that I can Deal with but certain things scare me such as seizures. I really have to figure out what triggers my anxiety so I can try to learn to fear these less.

Specializes in NICU.

Knowledge is power and perhaps some of your fear stems from not knowing what to do in a situation when someone is seizing (which isn't much, to be fair, but you can do things like helping them not vomit on themselves or choke).

When I was just off of orientation I was next to a very sick baby (there were 3 babies in the room) that the parents were called in to basically say good-bye. The grandmother arrived first and fell to her feet weeping at the baby's bedside crying for him to hold on until his mother got there. All I could do was stare, lost in my own sympathy for the poor woman, and got jerked back to reality when the nurse of the baby asked me to get her a chair.

A couple of years later, it's almost second nature to silently anticipate the grieving parent's needs, chairs, tissues, calling the bereavement team for pictures, etc etc. It's a learned skill.

Keep in mind additionally that the mortality rate of babies isn't as high as some might think. I work at a very high acuity (meaning that we have very sick babies) place and in the first year I worked, we had about 60 deaths, but had a daily census of 35-50 babies. The overwhelming majority of our kids go home. The real question you would be asking is how much quality of life they have. This means: yes, they are at home, but will they develop to have normal, healthy lives?

I think llg's suggestion of volunteering or becoming a nursing assistant is an excellent idea. Many people have no idea how a hospital or healthcare works (myself included when I was a bright eyed 18 year old thinking about nursing) and perceptions are generally far from reality. Good luck!

Specializes in MSN, FNP-BC.

"Babies don't always live and most are in bad condition. "

This statement bugs me. The reason it bugs me is because most babies are not in bad condition. Most babies are born healthy and get to go to mother-baby with their mom and then go home and live a normal life. In the NBICU we see a very small percentage of births.

You sound like you are young. You aren't trained (yet) in how to respond when someone has a siezure. Don't beat yourself up over this. You still have a lot of growing up to do between now and when you get to nursing school.

Just because you are thinking about going to nursing school right now,nobody out there is expecting you to act as a nurse. It's OK to not know what to do.

None of us knew what to do before we went to school. That is what going to school is for.

Think of it this way, if you ever see someone have a siezure again, you will be able to recognize it.:clown: The best thing you can do right now is to call for help. If you are ever again in a situation in which you don't know what to do call for help. Be it 911, or telling someone to go get help.

We as nurses cannot possibly handle everything that happens by ourselves. The first thing they teach us it to take a deep breath and call for help.

Make that your first step to being a nurse. Learn to ask and call for help and you will be well on your way to being a great nurse.


Specializes in NICU.

I agree with baby rn in that your fear of seizures might have been your unfamiliarity with what a seizure was and how to deal with it. In nursing school I think I was anxious about most things, like poking someone to start an iv and the idea of putting a tube down someone's throat into their stomach, lol and same with foley catheters. Once I practiced these steps in school on a dummy, and then on to real patients, I got over my anxieties quickly. I know now that once I get over my fear of doing these things for the first time, I am much better at it later. Hope that helps.

"Knowledge is power and perhaps some of your fear stems from not knowing what to do in a situation when someone is seizing".

I do believe that I was very unprepared when that girl had a seizure it is the only one I have ever seen and I didn't know what to do so I freaked out. I was scared to learn more about this subject but I think it would be better if I did a little more research on it so I won't be as terrified and if it does happen again I will know what do to. Thank you all for your comments. I am a little nervous about some things I will have to do as a nurse but I hope that nursing school will help me with being nervous and with my sensitivities.

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