questions about the speciality of NICU...help a student nurse make a choice?

  1. Hi!!
    I'm new here, student nurse. I am trying to decide whether to specialize in infant ICU or not. Also one of the classes I am taking currently is intro to medical terminology. This class requires that I write a report on the specific specialty I want to go into. So. Below are some questions for my class. I'd appreciate any help you all can give me.
    I previously have worked as a home health aide, read, "glorified housecleaner" and you got it in one. We were allowed to dispense medications if a Doctor had prescribed them. Also we were responsible for the personal hygiene of our clients. I liked it, but have found I am really much better with infants. TMI I know. Any way the following questions would really help me to focus on what I need to know both for the report and to look at this possible specialty. Thanks in advance for Everyone's time!! : D

    Firstly, I have seen this specialty field called "NICU" as well as "PICU" what are the differences if any between these two and if so what are the clients / patients usually like? ((Yes I realize that these most likely stand for neonatal and preemies, but I want to be very clear )) what are the some of the more common issues found in this specialty would be nice, a heads up so to speak about what I will face if I choose this path.
    What personality traits would be required for a job such as this? What would be some negative traits that could be an issue should i go in to this field?
    What is the most common environment that this job entails? Anyone have any good anecdotes about being in this field? Good or bad.
    i must include in this report are the references of the people who gave me the info. : D i am not asking for real names just the job spec's or credentials you might have. I am all for confidentiality!!
    Once again thanks!!
    Ciao!
    Scarlet
    PS: if this sounds arrogant or snotty it's not meant to be, i have a hard time asking for help. So please hang in here with me!! THANKS!!
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    About Scarlet_Witch

    Joined: Apr '05; Posts: 4

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  3. by   LilPeanut
    Firstly, I have seen this specialty field called "NICU" as well as "PICU" what are the differences if any between these two and if so what are the clients / patients usually like? ((Yes I realize that these most likely stand for neonatal and preemies, but I want to be very clear ))
    NICU stands for Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. PICU stands for Pediatric Intensive Care Unit. The biggest difference is age. NICUs are for just born babies - they are premature or have other health issues present from birth. Some rare NICUs will accept babies after they've gone home, but even then, it's usually just babies who WERE in the NICU, went home for a couple of days and had to be readmitted.

    PICU can run the gamut of everything else. Trauma, illness, cancer, you name it, anything that require the advanced support and lower nursing ratios of an ICU for a child who has been at home for a period goes to the PICU. You'll never see a 6 month old baby who has been home since birth go to a NICU. (you could see a 6 month old baby who was a preemie and has never been home in a NICU though!)

    what are the some of the more common issues found in this specialty would be nice, a heads up so to speak about what I will face if I choose this path.
    In the NICU, it's predominantly prematurity, though you will run into all sorts of other issues, congenital birth defects, birth injuries, drug exposed infants. There are some that are a mixture of all.

    What personality traits would be required for a job such as this? What would be some negative traits that could be an issue should i go in to this field?
    Attention to detail is one of the single biggest things that comes to mind. The margin of error in a NICU is razor thin. The babies are so tiny, there's just no room for mistakes. It's something that terrifies me. Negative things...well, it's a high stress environment that can be depressing at times. My nursing advisor only recommends NICU for people who really have a passion for it and can't imagine going into anything else.

    What is the most common environment that this job entails? Anyone have any good anecdotes about being in this field? Good or bad.
    Always in a hospital. No such thing as a home or office NICU I've not been in the field as a nurse, just as a parent so I won't answer that part.

    i must include in this report are the references of the people who gave me the info. : D i am not asking for real names just the job spec's or credentials you might have.
    BA in Spanish, going into a Master's program for NNP, currently working as a unit coord at our Children's ER.
  4. by   Annabelle57
    I'm definitely not qualified to shed light on any of the above topics, except one:

    NICU = Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

    PICU = Pediatric Intensive Care Unit

    Hope this helps! If it applies, you may want to wander over to the PICU threads as well...

  5. by   Scarlet_Witch
    Thank you so much !! this will help immensely!! i feel a real draw to the NICU. i toured the maternity wards @ a local hospital several months ago..and there was a..how do i explain it without sounding like a freak of nature..hmm, there was a draw..like i was being pulled to that area, more specificly like i was being told that this is where i needed to be. i have learned to listen to my intuition when it tells me something.
    this information you folks have provided will help very much in the report AND my decision on whether to go into this.
    i can't thank you folks enough.
    *HUG*
    Ciao!
    Scarlet
  6. by   suzanne4
    Don't base your choice on a tour of an area. Try to shadow a nurse in an NICU for a day or two to get a real feel for it.

    In the maternity wards, you are seeing "healthy" babies that weigh on average 5 to 8 pounds. There are babies that are born that literally fit in the palm of your hand. These children are in NICU for usually several months before they go home. You need to see if you could handle taking care of a baby so sick and so small. It is not always a "happy" unit..........

    Again, best thing that I can offer is to shadow a nurse for a day, and perhaps try a PICU also..........they also get babies that are anywhere from a few days old and up.
  7. by   foxyhill21
    Do in NP work in NICU or CNS or both
  8. by   RN4NICU
    Both NNPs and neonatal CNS work in NICU. CNS are more geared toward teaching, whereas NNPs do procedures, make rounds, write orders, etc.
  9. by   Scarlet_Witch
    HI!
    The infoirmation i am getting here is helping quite a bit. i will definately try to follow s nurse around the NICU unit, when i get closer to my clinicals.
    i still feel the pull to do follow this particular path, but at least i am a bit wiser in what is required of me to be able to do so.
    i appreciate eveyone taking their precious time to answer!
    TY!!
    Scarlet

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