Another New NICU Nurse

Specialties NICU


I was a newborn nursery nurse for a year. I relocated and decided that I needed experience in something else. I now work in a Level III NICU. I just finished orientation (12 weeks), but I'm still scared to death. Some days I feel like it's never going to get better and I should go back to general nursery.

My preceptor keeps telling me I'm doing great and expecting to much of myself to fast. But how long does it take to learn how to turn an intubated baby? I am very nervous when dealing with intubated infants. I work night shift now and one of my responsibilities is to weigh my babies. This is the most stressful part of my night! I have yet to weigh my babies without someone standing by me. The staff is real supportive and very helpful, but I hate asking for help all the time. I feel like I shouldn't be so dependent on others. Although everyone keeps telling me that it is normal.

I guess what I'm asking is, how do I know if I'm expecting too much of myself too soon, or am I just not cut out for NICU? How long should I give myself before I throw in the towel? :o

Please help!


71 Posts

Anyone who works in a new area and isn't scared alittle....I think, will never amount to much. Alittle healthy respect is always the best. I've worked in the NICU over 24 years and still get alittle uncertain about things needing a nurse consult!

You know thoughout your career things change and it's a real trip keeping up with all of it sometimes.

Just keep asking questions, reading and learning. When I worked days doctors rounds were a great way to learn...they still are, but I work straight nights now.

Welcome.......Best of luck! You'll love the's like nothing else.

But how long does it take to learn how to turn an intubated baby?

I know just how you feel! Now I flip those kids around like nothin'!:chuckle I even take them out for the parents to hold without any help! It just takes time and practice. I'm sure you're doing great. Give yourself some credit!


86 Posts

:) I got my confidence in turning intubated baby by assisting the doc in intubation(this way I know how secured the ETT should be),and actually resuscitating the intubated baby,I make sure that help is at hand when I need it asap when the tube got dislodged.I got a colleague who`s been in the unit for 15years but still ask for help when she`s going to change the linen or turn the baby,her motto is better safe than sorry.You are lucky that your co-workers are supportive,I assume that they won`t expect too much from you until after 6mos.At the moment enjoy your new post,don`t be too hard on yourself,it`s natural to be anxious in every new situation,eventually you will learn the curves,and feel you`ve been in the NICU for centuries already.Goodluck. :)


9 Posts

Thank you all for your advice. I really want the experience of being a NICU nurse and I want to be good at it. But it is very nerve racking at the moment.


150 Posts

Just remember that it takes time! I'm sure that every NICU nurse on this board was scared to death their first year in the NICU. I worked nights the first two and a half years in the NICU and I had the responsibility of weighing babies as well and yes it was very nerve wracking at first, but with time it gets better. I can remember when I was scared to death to take the CPAP off. Just remember what you are going through is VERY NORMAL. Hang in there and just take one shift at a time.


108 Posts

I know how you feel.

It took me a long time to feel good about myself in the NICU. Always scared that a situation would come up that I culdn´t handle. And it happend a few times and then there was always someone with more experiance to step in.

It tink the best thing about NICU is that you always have a few other nurses around to help you if needed.

Now after 3 years i think I am upto just about anything and I look farward to work every day.

Hang in there!

Love iceNICUnurse

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