Desperate for insight, NICU

  1. Hello,
    I have been scouring the boards and racking my brain for the best decision. I need help. I am a new RN in the NICU. Most of the nurses I know think its a dream job and ultimately want to be there. I am feeling differently. I am under contact for 3 years, or a 10,000 contractual buy out. I did not receive monies in advance, it is considered the fee for orientation. I am very seriously considering resigning. I have become so depressed, and I thought it was scheduling, or the orientation and being shoved around from days to nights to days then finally to nights.
    I know now, yes that didn't help but it's just too heartbreaking for me to be there. I'm sorry but that's the long and short of it. Instead of caring for and helping babies get well. I mostly am getting them better to send them out to a life of uncertainty with drug addict parents and serious moral character. My last stomach turning episode wasn't even with a baby of my own. I listened in my pod while a younger new RN explained that after correcting a father's inappropriate flirtatious comments, while caring for his baby that was tested positive for drugs (DCF was notified), he then requested she show him basic steps for diaper change and temp. Later privately in tears, told me he was wiping the baby inappropriatly and looking at her. She was enraged, remained calm and told him that was not the correct way or the way she had showed him. She informed the charge RN, the ARNP in detail, and despite that, still the child was released to them to go home the next day.
    It is what it is. I am sure there are a million heart-wrenching stories, but I know this is not the place for me. I can't sleep at night. I don't know that I would have been able to remain calm. In fact I have serious doubts that I would. It's just one of many stories, and I am repulsed at times of how little regard for life some humans seem to have for their own children. I never knew. I am not saying everyone, but in my high acuity, we get the worst of the worst. I just cannot, not anymore, it's too much for me. I guess that means I am giving up but isn't it wrong to stay with all this in my head?

    I own my own business, which another job in the medical field, I have been in that office for 10 years and maintained my patient load it all the way through school. I am not unreliable. I also contract and have a part time job that I work events that I have had for about a year and a half. I am a hard worker, and I can tolerate a lot of things. I am not perfect but unless I am sick, I am at work. Am I alone, has anyone ever left, fulfilled contract and gone on to find a niche field that made them feel they were making a difference?


    1) If I end my contract, which is an "at-will basis", defined in the contract, "which means that either I or the hospital may terminate the employment relationship, with or without notice and with or without cause at any time" pay the monies owed, will be able to get another nursing job? Do you think that I have fulfilled me commitment. Will I have any kind of life after this in the nursing field?

    2) I know everyone seems to feel that breaking a contract is unprofessional, however, if I have completed the terms, paid the money and left, then am I not conducting myself professionally and within the parameters on the contract? It is a business agreement for both sides and as long as the terms are met, isn't that why it was made?

    3) How would an interviewer see me? I did fulfill the terms.

    Thank you for the input.
  2. Visit akabombshell profile page

    About akabombshell

    Joined: Sep '07; Posts: 7


  3. by   HouTx
    Oh my goodness. I can completely understand.

    My clinical practice has been entirely in critical care - all areas. NICU was the only area that absolutely did not work for me. It took me a while to realize what was going on - why I was actually physically ill and emotionally flattened on a daily basis. I just couldn't take the ethical "backwash" in NICU. The unbelievable amount of resources expended for very questionable outcomes... The impact on families as the parent relationships were irretrievably fractured & older siblings neglected as focus shifted entirely on the unfortunate new arrival ... dealing with parents who were active substance abusers ... the amount of futile care that we were delivering despite the inevitability of a poor outcome . . . and the kicker - right down the hall, 'fetuses' were being terminated that were nearly the same "age" as our NICU patients. Nope - staying in that environment was just destroying me.

    I can't advise you what would be best in your situation, but I was fortunate enough to have a manager that understood. She arranged for me to transfer back to an adult ICU. After a while, I started to be happier and regained my sense of peace and satisfaction with my job. Now, it is just a distant and very sad memory.

    Have you talked to your manager about your situation and asked for a transfer to another area? In my organization, the ethics committee is a resource for all types of consultations - not just patient care; if there a similar setup at your hospital, you could talk to them and ask for assistance. If that's not an option, is there a hospital chaplain available to assist you? You need someone on your side who will advocate for you.

    FYI, in subsequent job interviews, I simply explained that I left NICU due to the "moral distress" I was experiencing. This does not place blame on anyone.
  4. by   PediatricRNTX
    You must be a versant resident. I recently broke the contract. Paid my dues in full ( prorated for amount of time youve been there) and got released. I quickly got another job and just explained my reason for breaking the contract. They had no issue.

    Well, my venture away ended up being a ntmare so I called the old job to ask if I was in good standing to rehire....even after the broken contract....they said yes.!? I was shocked.

    Do what you have to do to be happy. Life is short.

    The key was being honest, sincere, and professional. Not every job is a good fit.
  5. by   akabombshell
    Thank you so much for taking time to reply. It's nice to know I'm not alone. I will speak to the Chaplan and did return last night to work. It is moral distress, that's the most accurate diplomatic way to put it. I was in a pod that is separate with another seasoned RN who was very forthcoming and confided similar feelings, and tried focusing on the impact we have. I will begin to explore my options, and look into the ethics committee which I know we also have. I always considered myself pretty open-minded, not extremely religious/political by any stretch of the imagination. It is so strange that I would find myself in a moral dilemma. I feel okay today, but after being off for a stretch with the flu, returning yesterday was very difficult. It is reassuring to know I'm not the only one. Thank you again.