Career Change From Adult Oncology to NICU, Nervous!

Nurses Career Support

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Specializes in Oncology, NICU.
Career Change From Adult Oncology to NICU, Nervous!

Having a mental breakdown. Indecisive!

Having a mental breakdown. Indecisive.

I'm in my mid-20's so don't judge LOL. I have no kids and live at home!

I have posted about this several times.
I'm becoming more and more anxious for my new job as a NICU nurse!

Short Back story: I have been an oncology nurse for 2 yrs. It is my first job as an RN and I accepted it mostly because I didn't get into the adult ICU as a new grad (what I wanted). Early on into my time in oncology, I knew I wanted to grow and advance as a nurse, and I knew I didn't want to stay in oncology forever. I didn't hate it, but I wanted to either do more or at least something different. I wanted to be somewhere I felt in my heart I enjoyed and wanted to learn about. Oncology wasn't it.

I started on nights and after a year, I was able to transition to dayshift. On dayshift is where I met my current boyfriend who I have a healthy and happy relationship with. I transitioned to days and was happy because I did not like being on nightshift. I am a morning person at heart! I love days. I sleep normal, have an incredible work/life balance, and feel free when I am not at work.

Around this time I was applying to jobs bc I didn't like my floor and I applied for the ICU and NICU within my current hospital.

ICU rejected me, and a level 2 NICU gave me an offer. 

I originally accepted NICU, but I felt so happy being on a dayshift schedule in oncology. So I rejected the offer. This was 3 weeks before transferring to NICU.

Right away I felt like *** and regretted choosing to stay on the floor. NICU really did interest me and I was excited for it, but I was NOT ready to head back to nightshift so soon after leaving! 

Even though I liked days and loved having similar days off as my bf, I did not like my floor at all! Many times I came home stressed, upset, tired, and shitty. I didn't like oncology and how I was treated at bedside. I didn't like my floor!

So I started applying for in my hospital chain again.. left and right. Tried ICU again, rejected. PICU, rejected. OR, rejected. (I am under contract for my hospital chain)

Outpatient oncology infusion: rejected. 

It was ridiculous and I felt very sad at work. I complained to my bf several times how I felt "stuck" at my job. I felt stupid for turning down my opportunity to leave.

Then on a random day of job checking.. I saw an application for now a level 3 NICU. I applied.

I interviewed, originally was told "no".. and then was offered the job a few weeks later! I was so happy and I said yes to it right away! I was so so so excited. I bought a couple of NICU nurse badges, and I began to tell my friends/family. 

Now, I am about ONE WEEK from starting my new job as a level 3 NICU RN.

I am so incredibly worried. I'm scared. I am scared to leave a dayshift position for a night one, and I'm scared to leave what I know. I'm worried about the impact working nightshift will have on my family, friends, and boyfriend!! I need advice because I feel so indecisive, scared and afraid. I worry I am NOT making a good decision and will end up being unhappy. But I also fear being stuck in the same place. I don't know what to do ?

I have my family and boyfriend's total support. They are happy for me and are happy with whatever makes me happy. My BF wants to make it work and so do I.

I just feel like I'm making such a big and potentially destructive decision that may impact my life.

Can anyone give me advice? Nurses? NICU RN's? Nights? Days? Young nurses like me? Can anyone offer life experiences? I am literally so anxious about the job offer. I was told the list for dayshift on my unit is very long and may be YEARS to switch.

Specializes in ER.

Jump in and do it. You need a change, so try it for 6 months, and start applying elsewhere if you want to try something else. If you don't make the change, you'll be unhappy and start reapplying elsewhere, and you'll get a reputation for being flakey. Any new experience is valuable, Go for it.

Specializes in Public Health, TB.

I agree with canoe head. Yes, night shift can be tough, it's not forever. You can set a limit. And the estimates of how long a day shift takes to open up, are just that. 

You might think of this as a step toward developing your career. If you have the support of your family, I say go for it!

Specializes in New Critical care NP, Critical care, Med-surg, LTC.

I think so many people set themselves up for failure on nights. Don't go in with the attitude that it will be so hard, set yourself up for success! Blackout curtains, white noise machine, eye mask, room with appropriate heating and cooling. Setting up expectations with family and friends about when you will and won't be available. Eat as healthy as you can and figure out what works for you. Try to avoid the snack binges on unhealthy things. It took me a little while to learn that I do better eating on a day shift schedule all the time. I don't eat on night shift. Sometimes that means I only eat one or two meals a day, but that's what works for me. It is easy? Not always. But night shift has allowed me to be home with my family and still participate in things like school trips and weekend events. Sometimes I more tired than I would like and sometimes I miss out on things, but it's nice being the grocery store on a Tuesday morning when it's less crowded.

Don't have any advice on the NICU thing, babies would scare me, but I wish you all the best and hope it's the fit you were looking for. Good luck!

Specializes in NICU.

Jump into it with both feet. I have been a Level IV NICU nurse for nearly 9 yrs (1.5 yrs night and 7 yrs day shift). I started as a new grad and have not regretted the decision. Preemies are the toughest humans on the planet. No matter what you put them through, their drive to live is enormous. Adults are wimps compared to preemies.

Specializes in Telemetry, DD, Ortho, CCU, BHU.

You made your decision, now stick with it if only for the experience.  Nights are hard for some people and take getting used to.  Keep a strict schedule for a couple of months to help you adjust. Consistently put a request in for any day positions that may come up that you are interested in.

Don't be afraid to leave what you know because once you didn't know that..  Oncology my not be NICU, but NICU isn't Oncology.  Each nursing specialty have their own difficult areas.  Oncology has so many various meds not used in other units, ports, other central lines, radiation therapy and more.  The same goes for the NICU, this is just another learning curve to conquer and add to your tool box.  You will be surprised at how much you already know..  Go to your new job feeling confident and ready to learn all things new.  Best Wishes to you!  Your going to be great if they just give you the chance.

NICU Guy said:

their drive to live is enormous.

Except when you look at them sideways and they brady to the 30s, LOL; then they just need a gentle reminder to choose life. They're still the best patients, though.

In all seriousness, @Sweetpea04, I think you'll really like it. I had a friend who used to joke that her worst day in the NICU was still better than her best day in the ED. On the whole, kids tend to start out at their sickest, then get bigger and stronger until they go home. It's a pretty uplifting process compared to most of healthcare.

Specializes in NICU.
adventure_rn said:

then they just need a gentle reminder to choose life

We call that "High Fiving Jesus". Just a quick little trip and then back to normal.

NICU Guy said:

We call that "High Fiving Jesus". Just a quick little trip and then back to normal.

Lmao, I had a NICU friend who used to call it "seeing sandals" for a similar reason. Our peds/PICU nurses who floated to us would be all ready to start compressions per PALS, and were very confused when we said, "yeah, that just do that."

Specializes in cardiac/education.

Did you take the job? How is it going?


Specializes in Oncology, NICU.
Curious1alwys said:

Did you take the job? How is it going?


I did! I'm 3 months on orientation. Still on day shift for now. I have been assigned grower feeders mostly. I have an intense and not so nice preceptor so it has been tough. I like the babies but not sure if this is my forever job. Trying to give it time.

Specializes in cardiac/education.

Awesome! Preceptors can always be risky, I hear you. I think I only had a couple nice ones in all of my orientations, ever, LOL. At least you are trying something new. All the best to you! 

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