Too Emotional for PICU??

  1. I'm a new nurse, started working on a telemetry floor in March of this year. We do take overflow and literally about once a week, I have a patient with a history of drug abuse who is requesting dilaudid every two hours like clockwork. I came into nursing because I wanted to help people who need it, and that is not my idea of helping people... feeding their addiction.

    Anyway, with what's going on with Easton Friedel ( who is fighting Epidermolysis Bullosa... I REALLY want to switch to PICU. I was considering pediatrics, but got the job on the floor I'm currently on, and took it. I want to spend my shifts helping these innocent babies and children. My fiance thinks it's a bad idea because I'm fairly emotional. The updates about baby Easton have me crying on a daily basis, I cried three or four times during my preceptorship in the ICU in nursing school, I cried when I had a patient who had just recently lost a child and was speaking about it... So yes, I'm emotional, but the compassion I have for people, and wanting to comfort them and help in any way possible, I feel like I would be better off in PICU.

    Any advice? Should I stay away? My fiance thinks I'll come home crying every day. I think that I'll learn to control myself/compartmentalize/etc.
    Last edit by JustBeachyNurse on Sep 19, '12 : Reason: tos-link removed
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    About fsh1986

    Joined: Feb '11; Posts: 39; Likes: 11


  3. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    Guess what? Most kids admitted to PICU recover completely, go home and lead totally normal lives. It's true that EB kids are really hard on the emotions because their lives are so painful. It's true that there will be children who come into the PICU with no possibility of survival. But no one nurse is assigned to those patients every day. Being emotional isn't wrong, as long as it's not interfering with your ability to do your job. Or causing the family to try to comfort you. We all get attached to our patients (some of them anyway) and feel emotion when they suffer. BUT... and here's the stinger... if you aren't able to compartmentalize, maintain professional boundaries and leave your work at work, you'll burn out in no time. PICU isn't for the faint-of-heart, but it IS for those who genuinely love caring for sick children and their families. Maybe you could arrange a shadow day so you can be immersed in the environment for a few hours and see how you feel at the end of the day. then you'll have a better idea of how you'd cope as a PICU nurse.
  4. by   fsh1986
    I had several days in PICU while in school and I did not have any patients that made me cry. The only patient I cried over in NICU was one that had been born at only 23 weeks and seeing a baby like that was more of a shock to me than anything. I do know myself well enough to know that I couldn't handle NICU, so I chose not to have anymore clinical rotations there while in school, but to do the extra ones in PICU.