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Posted over 4 years ago
Hello everyone. First of all, thank you for taking the time to read this post. I am studying to become a Registered Nurse, and eventually plan to work in one of the local NICU dept. in my area. I have a class assignment to write a research paper on something that I want to learn more about that will affect my life. I chose to research neonatal nursing, and was wondering if anyone who has experience in this field could answer some questions for me to help with my research. I do know the basics about the NICU from experience, since my first child was premature and I practically lived there during that time. The NICU nurses that took care of my son were like angels to me and I will never be able to thank them enough for everything they did for me and my baby, (who is now a very healthy five year old). Obviously I have a very high respect for people in this occupation, which is why I would like to do this for a living. I have read a prior posting from this site that was very helpful and informative, but would like to hear from others in the industry.
The questions I have are mainly about your personal experiences, since I have already researched the basic info. I would like to know, what made you decide to choose this aspect of nursing? What are some of the positive/negative things about this career? What do you wish someone had told you before you started working in the NICU? How do you deal with the stress and emotion that comes from this line of work? Do you have to rotate nights/weekends/holidays, or is it somewhat flexible as far as the hours you want to work?
If you would like to answer any or all of these questions, or you would like to write about anything else you think would be important, I would really appreciate it. I would also ask that you please make a quick note to whether or not I can use a direct quote from you in my research report. My instructor is a stickler for citing all info and asking permission.
Thank you soooo much for any response you can give me. And if anyone would be available for more personal conversation, or email, that would also be very helpful.
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| Posted over 4 years ago
When I went to nursing school, I never thought I would want to work in the NICU. I worked at a hospital while going to school and one of my jobs was to test infants in the NICU hearing. It was from my observation and working with the nurses that I decided to specialize. For my senior praticum and stawardship class I worked in the NICU. I had several job offers as a new grad that required an internship. Some hospitals have you work night shift until your trained and until a day shift position opens. The one I chose had us rotate for one year nights/days. My first job did not work well for me. Scheduling was horrible. I asked all the right questions during the interview, but numbers were skewed because nurses went from full-time positions to flex so they could get the schedule they wanted. I was honest with them about never working a night shift and knew that I would have to rotate, but it never occured to me that I could be scheduled with abrupt changes. I never though of asking if they would schedule me in ways that would ease the transition from days/nights. I suggest you ask yourself what works for you and be honest. Then ask these questions in interviews with perspective employers.
I have had others tell me that it's better to get experience in med. surg before specializing. They are most concerned with being able to prioritize and mangage work load. I have known quite a few nurses who have specialized right off the bat and never regret it. It is important to have an idea of what you want to do before your practicum. My girlfriend who was the head of our class did her practicum in Mother/Baby Postpartum got a job interview at the clinical site but decided she wanted to do med/surg. She applied many times for internships and ended up working in a nursing home. She told me that the reasons given to her was lack of experience. Another factor to consider is that RNS in NICUs do not have a high turn over rate. You may have to move to obtain work.
Stress can be an issue for everyone. I see the positive side or the glass half full perspective. Most infants get better and go home. You need to be pretty laid back and remember to breathe. You prioritize what is most important, get help if you need it, but never look out of control or stressed. Find nurses who will help and mentor you. Outside of work, do what makes you happy and relieves stress. Regular exercise helps me and I enjoy hiking. During your first year, if you have family ask for help. It can be cooking a few meals, cleaning your house, doing some of your laundry. You'll need the break, because when you leave work you have more work to do. I spent many nights reading and learning what I had worked with during the day because there is not enought time at work, and you still need to reflect on your practice. What working, whats not, how to improve, etc. Its a steep learning curve and a lot of work, but totally worth it.
The positives are working with families. There is no greater privledge than being able to care for someone's baby. Most get better and go home. Your role impacts families. The families are your patients. There is always something to learn and a way to contribute. Getting involved in shared government, reading research articles, attending conferences, and mentoring.
I know you were looking for some negative things about this career. I can tell you that no matter where you work there may be a time when you might not get lunch, or you can't go potty for awhile, or the day is very busy and you work over. Other than that to work in an NICU requires that you live in a metropolitian area.
Hope this helps