Interested in NICU.....have an important question tho?


hello nicu nurses!!!! i am due to graduate (lpn/lvn) in july. i plan to continue on to become an rn because i really really really want to work l&d or in the nicu and all the area hospitals around me require at least rn (adn) to work on either unit. the question i have tho is i can be an emotional person sometimes like cry at sad movies etc. not overly emotional but i do cry from time to time. in the event of an emergency i am always centered and level headed but afterwards i usually cry. i can seperate my own feelings from an emergency and don't let my emotions take over. it was always been my dream to work l&d or in the nicu. so i am wondering, if i were to get a position in the nicu after i have completed rn school would i be fired if i cried after a baby passed away? or would i be fired if i cried infront of parents? i mean obviously i would try to keep it in and it would not be about me being sad at that time. for example if a baby was being resuscitate and we were doing all we could and lost them i am afraid i may cry after. i see how much of an impact the nicu nurses have on family & patients and want to be a part of that. so how do you avoid crying?? thank you so much!! any advice is appreciated!!!!! i also did just want to say what you guys/girls do is amazing!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


223 Posts

Specializes in Level II & III NICU, Mother-Baby Unit. Has 21 years experience.

I can't imagine you being fired for crying. As you mention you tend to be strong during emergencies like resuscitations this is true for pretty much all of us. In the heat of the moment we are all strong, level-headed, thinking hard and acting fast. It's often after the incident that we tend to break down a bit and we often do it among ourselves. It's ok to shed a little tear with a family but you must remember they need you to be strong too.

When babies pass away they are usually in the arms of their Mother and Father; the parents are usually crying and often the Mother lets out a cry that will bring you to your knees. Generally we pull the curtains around them to let them have their privacy and we walk away and wipe our tears and hug each other. After the family has felt they are ready to leave the unit, this is when we often will truly cry together. A really hard thing to do is assist parents who want to give post-mortem care to their baby like bathing the little one and dressing them, bundling them, etc. Now, that is hard but again, you somehow suck it up because you know they need this for their grieving and they are allowing you into one of their most intimate moments of their lives and will appreciate you for helping them.

Sometimes the hospital minister will have a prayer with us nurses and I remember once when we had a bunch of deaths occur in a short time our nurse manager brought in a psychologist to help us with our grief. So, it's ok to cry and be emotional in the right place and somehow you will be able to manage this like the rest of us crybabies do. I'm one of the worst crybabies I know and I've managed to remain professional although I have cried a tear or two with a family (the kind of tear that comes when you look at the parent in the eye, your eye fills with water and you gently wipe it away as you give them a hug). Your compassion will make you a great nurse for working with Mothers and Babies!

Specializes in NICU.

L2L is right on the money. You have your head in the game and you're totally focused on the care you're providing for your patient and their family. Their needs are simply more important than your own.

The two times I'm the most likely to cry are during baptism and when the dads breakdown. Crying dads get me every time (whether happily crying or sad). Families appreciate that you're moved by their loss, and they won't ever forget your compassion. It's okay to cry - so long as getting the job done remains your priority.

Some losses are certainly harder than others. A 24 weeker who has been circling the drain for 3 days isn't nearly as hard for me as a 32 weeker who develops severe NEC and passes in what feels like minutes....or a term baby who had horrible delivery complications and doesn't make it.


30 Posts

thank you both very much for sharing! i really appreciate it! i know i have a lot of work ahead of me but i really want to be a nicu nurse. i just feel it in my heart. i can't explain it. i would love to be the nurse that puts bows in baby doe's hair and makes sure that baby boy doe has his special stuffed animal with him while their parents have to leave their babies in the nicu while they run home or return to work or whatever the case may be. i know how critical accurate critical thinking is and i know i have a lot more to learn but really really really want to do this!! again thank you very much!!!!!!!!!! :nurse:


69 Posts

I am touched by your passion... it will serve you well

I wish you all the best in the challenging yet rewarding field of NICU nursing.

It is truly a unique position we are in to make a difference in families' lives.

Good luck