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From NICU to Behavioral Health

Nurse Beth   (184 Views 1 Comments)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Advice Column) Writer Innovator Expert

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and works as a Nursing Professional Development Specialist.

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Dear Nurse Beth,

BSN nic certified 32 year nicu level 3 +nicu nurse having to switch fields due to inability to meet lift requirement of unknown amount (wont take my current 10lb limit)

Broke my wrist, lots of OT but lost strength. Work out daily on something so am doing as much as I can to get back to preinjury level. Small hospital, Hr offered a part time behavorial health position for med passing time. So out of my field of expertise, 7 yrs adult with icu care in 80"s.

My knowledge of non nicu medications is sparse. I would of course study but am so concerned that I will miss something, both with medication interactions, SE, or changes in the patients. I consider in house pharm resources limited - are there apps for quick references in the adult world like there is in nicu? Guessing so but advice appreciated.

I could retire but really would like to continue to work. I find this is an odd offer considering my situation and also worry about my safety and the stress that potential floating will cause because floats mean tech work ( no complaining, i always treated techs as partners - not so here) with lots of lifting that I cannot do will be getting a lot of negative from the staff (thus the stress) Life throws you curves - I am having difficulty following its road. Any advice appreciated

Dear Worried,

I'm sorry about your injury.

The offer to pass meds in Behavioral Health is a good one, considering the 10 lb weight restriction. It's difficult to find a clinical position to accommodate lifting restrictions.

It's very uncomfortable jumping from infants to adults, but learning psychotropic meds will not be that hard. There are a handful that are used over and over, and they are not weight-based. Find out if your hospital has a subscription to Micromedex or other database. If not, there are multiple apps to help you.

Take a CE course on Behavioral Health and treatment, they are readily available online.

As far as floating as a tech, double check with HR, as it will be very difficult to maintain your lift restriction working as a tech, and you could re-injure your wrist. The communication and role expectations would have to be very clear to avoid confusion and negativity for you.

Also consider jobs outside of patient care, such as case management, or telephone triage. 

Best wishes, 

Nurse Beth

Author, "Your Last Nursing Class: How to Land Your First Nursing Job"...and your next!

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