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L&D to NICU (or MBU)

luluella luluella (New) New Nurse

Hello friends. Looking for some friendly advice 🙂

I am highly considering a career change into the NICU. I've done a lot of self reflection to come to this thought but I still appreciate input from experienced NICU and/or OB nurses.

Has anyone transitioned between L&D and NICU or vice versa? Or from/to MBU? How would you describe the differences in role & responsibilities between these specialties?

For NICU nurses, what are the most tedious or anxiety inducing aspects of your job? What's a true "day in the life" or schedule for you in a level III?

For some background, I am coming from a high-risk, high volume LDR unit. It was extremely difficult to make this decision but I ended up leaving because my anxiety was nearly crippling. I do not consider myself an "adrenaline junkie" though I can appreciate a critical challenge. I like to make lists and plan a schedule, which seemed impossible in labor &delivery but seems much more possible in the NICU. Do you agree with this? (of course considering there will always be unexpected emergencies and quick changes in status) but in general I like knowing roughly what to expect over the course of a shift.

I came into nursing with the desire to serve the most vulnerable of my community. I have absolutely treasured the opportunities I've had to care for women in their most vulnerable moments, especially those coming from backgrounds of abuse, lower socioeconomic status, or pain that has led to substance use. However, I realized that I would rather have responsibility primarily for the infant's health status while having a support role for their mothers and families (I.e. encouraging and supporting moms and families on a relational level but only actually having medical responsibility for the infant.) Many of my coworkers in L&D seemed very comfortable making boisterous small talk and telling women what to do during labor, which is not really my MO LOL. I have a very gentle and detail-oriented approach to patient care, which I think will serve me better in NICU. I am also pursuing IBCLC certification and would like more opportunities to support mothers with breastfeeding.

I have interviews coming up for NICU and mom/baby. Does anyone have some advice on what's a good next move coming from L&D? Thanks for taking the time to read and respond to my thoughts. 🙂

Edited by luluella

babyNP., APRN

Specializes in NICU. Has 13 years experience.

This is a bit belated, but I think you would do well in a Level II or a community Level III. While there are unpredictable things that occur, such as an infant getting suddenly sick to the point of needing to be ventilated, have surgery, coding, etc., it really doesn't happen that often and would happen more often in a Level IV unit like a children's hospital or university hospital. The vast majority of the NICU population are "feeder/growers" where you have set care times for taking care of them and working on feeding skills.

How did your interviews turn out?