I've been an RN for 2 years and a NICU nurse for 1 1/2 years. I received an excellent orientation at a large teaching hospital where I worked for the first year, and I felt confident of my skills. I worked in Level II and Level III. When I switched to night shift, my commute became 2 hours each way, and I had to find something closer to home. I accepted a day position in a smaller community NICU closer to home, and although the commute was better, the facility has been a nightmare from day one. I was given a month orientation with five different preceptors, and most of them were completely disinterested and barely talked to me. I had to finally go to my director to get them to fill out the necessary paperwork, because they would just ignore me. There were so many bad signs this was a bad unit, but I was trying to make it work. I wanted to resign after three weeks, and they convinced me to stay. I've been there six months now and I've lost all my confidence. Most of the time on the unit the nurses speak in another language to each other and I feel really alienated. I feel completely terrified to go into work, because I have to rely on them and most the time I can't understand what they are saying. The charting is awful and doesn't work half the time, the unit is completely disorganized, and the acuity level is insane because we do all the births for the Children's Hospital next door. I'm terrified to do even one more shift. How do I bow out gracefully? I am seriously considering leaving the bedside because of this experience. I love my patients, but if I accept a job at another facility, I'll be back on nights, which was really traumatic for my young daughter. The stress of this job is taking over my entire life and hurting my family. I'm sad to leave the NICU and my babies, but I can't stand this sort of hell anymore. Anyone been through this sort of thing?
Ugh...it's so hard to balance career and family. Is there something closer than 2 hours from home but maybe a bit further than this hospital? Or, are you open to positions outside the NICU? Just trying to help think of options...
Thanks for responding, I appreciate the support. I still love my little patients, but I'm looking into other options right now. I truly love taking care of the little ones, but I don't like the high-stress level of taking care of the really sick ones, especially when I feel like all we are doing is prolonging their suffering. Maybe it's because I haven't had a proper orientation to do this work.
I'm finishing my MSN in Education and thinking about becoming an FNP in the next couple of years. I originally wanted to become an NNP, but this experience has changed my mind. I'm not expecting the FNP to be easy, but I think I'd like to try something outside of critical care. Once you're in NICU though, it seems like it's hard to transition elsewhere.
What about newborn nursery or PICU? Or even L&D? Nothing quite matches the NICU, but maybe transfers to one of those units can be a stopgap until you can get to where you really want to be.
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