I started working in the NICU as a new grad and was there for over 2 years. I loved it, and I couldn't imagine ever working with adults or doing anything else. I thought I had found my calling in life. That was until I moved to a new town and finding a NICU job was difficult. It forced me to consider postpartum nursing, which I do now, and have been doing for the past year. I thought I would HATE it. However, it turns out I have begun to love it more than NICU nursing and if I had the chance to go back I don't think I would.
A huge difference for me at first was going from taking care of (at the most) 3 babies in the NICU, to taking care of up to 4 moms and 4 babies (aka-4 couplets) all at once in Postpartum. It definitely seems more challenging to have to be responsible for (and chart on) up to 8 patients at a time oppose to only 3. However, caring for less patients in the NICU can turn out to be even more work than more in postpartum because the NICU babies are sick and require a lot more intensive and acute care. In postpartum, you usually are not taking care of anyone who is sick, mom's are just recovering (there are definitely exceptions to that where moms have postpartum hemorrhage, etc. But, it is more rare). If a baby begins to get sick, they usually leave your care and get a ticket to the NICU. It is very rewarding to be that person who notices if the baby is not doing well or is getting sick and gets them to the proper treatment they need.
In postpartum there is a lot of patient teaching regarding self care and baby care, but you also have to do a lot of teaching in the NICU. Mom's usually need a lot of help breastfeeding, which not all postpartum nurses enjoy helping with (it can be a very time consuming and frustrating experience), however, most L&D units now have lactation consultants to do that job for you. They are life savers!
In a nutshell, I love working as a postpartum nurse and I would recommend it to anyone! It's amazing to work with fat, healthy babies in the happiest place to work in the hospital!
PS-Like most hospitals, there is a typical preference for bachelor degree nurses, but we definitely hire associate degree nurses without any problem. I think that goes for all L&D and postpartum units.