L&D vs NICU-any nurses that have done both?

  1. I am confused and could use advice. I am still uncertain after shadowing if I want to work in L&D or NICU. There are perks to both for me, but I am still unsure as to which one I want. I have always wanted to do L&D since I went to nursing school 7 years ago, but I think I would enjoy the NICU as well..I have worked a variety of nursing jobs, including a Level One Shock/Trauma ICU..So, I am used to fast paced and staying on my toes..Is there anyone out who happens to have tested the waters in both fields? Or anyone with advice on either direction?
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    About babbsrn

    Joined: Nov '06; Posts: 7
    office nurse
    Specialty: 6 year(s) of experience in ICU;med/surg;research;office


  3. by   NiteWalker
    I am going to do it. I work in L&D and going to work in NICU from next month. I work in level II hospital, but I graduated from NICU program, so I got some levelIII experience @ Sick Kids in Toronto. I hope it will work well. I feel that both jobs will give me equal satisfaction, but L&D is physically more demanding and draining. I'd say that I love L&D more, but I come home SO tired that I decided to balance it.
  4. by   babbsrn
    Thanks for the response..That is exactly what I have been thinking, that I will find the L&D more fulfilling, but I also like the idea of not coming home absolutely drained...Been there..Not sure how bad I want to go back..
  5. by   Jolie
    I started in NICU as a new grad, and went to an LDRP unit after about 5 years. I looked forward to the L&D portion of orientation, as I was a bit of a high-tech junkie. Much to my surprise, I found that I loved post-partum/mother-baby, and that L&D was "OK", but not the "rush" I expected it to be. About a year later, hubby was transferred, and when I looked for a new job, I returned to my "home" in the NICU.

    I suspect that you will favor the unit you go to first. It is simply a matter of having familiarity and a greater comfort level in what you learn first. Starting in L&D can be overwhelming, especially in an LDRP unit where you will be responsible for the care of high-risk ante-partum moms, laboring patients, post-partum moms and babies, C-section moms (both in the OR and post-op), and recovery of post C-section patients. You will probably be required to obtain fetal monitoring certification, NRP, and possibly ACLS as well. That is a lot to accomplish in the first year or so after graduating!

    At least in NICU, your patients are all babies. Silly as that may sound, it places some limits on your scope of practice, and on the certifications you will be required to obtain.

    Both areas are incredibly challenging and rewarding, and I wish you the best in whatever you decide. There are very few nurses who are competent in both areas. If you choose to pursue both you will eventually be well-positioned for transport, education, or administration.
  6. by   flytern
    Been there done that! L&D is definitely more demanding physically (most RN's have bad backs by the time they hit 40). Also, you have to cater to the whims of not only the patient but every visitor in the room.

    Now the NICU, that's more mentally draining to me. Every parent is stressed when their infant is in the NICU, but at least they're not there 24/7.

    I really liked doing both, when I was in NICU, I missed L&D and vice versa.

  7. by   babbsrn
    Thanks for the input..Flytern, out of curiousity-which did you do first and where are you now? Do you go back and forth? Did you always want to do one and then decided later to do the other? Sorry for all of the questions, I am just torn...
  8. by   flytern
    babbsrn: actually started out in an OB doctors office. Moved to post partum in a hospital. They needed someone to be a second pair of hands in the NICU (to help w/growers& feeders, bili babies....) nothing too intense.
    Then started being neonurse for deliveries.
    Then learned labor and delivery (sort of on the side).
    Now doing mostly labor, some post partum. But will always stand in for NICU in a delivery if needed. I really like to feel comfortable with all aspects of our department, I figure you never know when or where you'll be needed, and I don't want to look like a big idiot!

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