From NICU to OB


Hi all, I've been working in a Level IV NICU for a year, and while I love the babies and families, it's been too hard for me ethically and emotionally. Our babies are the sickest of the sick, many don't make it, and many go home on machines in order to live at all. I'm burning out quickly from the stress of these life-altering interventions.

Our hospital has openings in L&D/PP (the units are not separated), though I'll have to switch from evenings to nights. I'm wondering how easy or difficult this transition might be? How are the jobs different? Will my experience come in handy? Will my sick baby-centered focus be welcomed by other L&D nurses? I should say I've always wanted to help moms labor, and I have some great personal experience in the area.

Any feedback or thoughts are appreciated! :)


603 Posts

Has 20 years experience.

We definitely welcome NICU nurses. The jobs are very different because the patients are very different, of course, however because you are so used to working in a fast paced and high intensity environment, the transition shouldn't be too bad. The good thing about working in a level IV NICU is that you develop some great organizational and critical thinking skills as well as learning how to spring into action when your patient goes south quickly; all skills you need in L&D. The complaint I hear from most nurses coming from other units to L&D is that they have a hard time learning to focus on 2 patients instead of one, e.g., mother and fetus. I have personally found that ER nurses and NICU nurses make great L&D nurses. We especially appreciate your presence when there's a code. ;)


2 Posts

Thanks so much, your feedback makes me feel better. I think I will really enjoy helping deliver healthy babies with happy outcomes, and for the smaller percentage of mamas and babies that are sick, hopefully I will be better prepared to handle those situations as well. And who knows, if I really love it, maybe I will even consider going back to school for CNM.

Specializes in Nurse-Midwife. Has 11 years experience.

Re: evenings to nights -- If you can sleep during the day when you get home from work, you should be fine. For me this requires two things 1) a quiet, calm house, 2) the discipline to sleep during daylight hours.

Sometimes I don't have either - and that's when the night shift gets challenging.

Otherwise, I kinda love working nights.

I think you would rock it! Just study a bit before hand, the common meds, emergency situations etc. Your biggest trouble would probably the charting aspect, but that would be a bit troublesome when transitioning from any specialty to another. I think you may even have an advantage. Sometimes us (L&D) nurses catch our own babies and many L&D nurses are terrified of babies. :) I think you will be great.