Hi all:) I couldn’t find a NICU specific section, but this post might make sense to NICU nurses more! But I accept advice from all!
So I have been a nurse for 3+ years now. I started in Adult ICU for 1.5 years- I was good at my job, excelled quickly, but did not like my job- the patients were mean and the work was hardly rewarding (I.e always sending patients to nursing homes or my patients would pass away)
I have been a NICU nurse now for 1 year and 7 months. My job is rewarding now but I am not progressing. I still feel so stupid and think maybe I should either quit or ask to only have feeder growers. This is the situation- bear with me it is a lot to explain.
I work in a level IV NICU where we get the SICKEST babies. Our assignments are heavy- double vents, admission + surgery, discharge one baby and have 2 others on bubble, 3 IV babies, so on. Our unit is chaotic- management doesn’t help. Every nurse on my floor is miserable because we are overworked, and our nurse culture is very negative. You would think me working on this floor that I would progress quickly as a nurse, right? WRONG. They don’t trust “newer nurses” so they give us low acuity assignments allll the time. So when I finally do get high acuity I am #1 panicked and #2 have to relearn everything and embarrass myself because it’s been months since I’ve done anything (ex- assist with line insertions, complicated line changes, giving blood, you name it). I forget so much that it has led to mistakes (minor mistakes thank God) but mistakes none the less. Either that or I make a mistake because our unit is too busy and hectic (like forgetting to do something or even giving my antibiotic with my lipids!! -which I did today:( )I struggle with panic attacks and high levels of anxiety/ stress over my job. I even had a miscarriage this year and I do not think it’s a coincidence that it happened on a very stressful day at work.
The days where I love my job I have feeder growers on the “feeder grower” separate unit. But again, I lose my skills and again the cycle continues.
Now that im nearing 2 years I want to give up. I want to stop trying to be an ICU nurse. I should know more than I do by now but am not progressing! I either want to find a NICU elsewhere that values teaching and is a SUPPORTIVE staff or just give in and stay a feeder grower nurse. But by the looks of it all of the units around my area are lower acuity and have MAYBE one vent, some bubbles, and mostly feeder growers. Oh and another thing- surrounding units are cancelling nurses all the time due to low census- my unit never has that problem.
What do y’all think? I am not the type of person who has to have high acuity excitement- I’m a very chill person. But I also don’t want to be a quitter and wonder “what if?”