Returning to the NICU: Feeling Passionate About Nursing Again
I started in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit as a new grad nurse over 15 years ago. Before deciding to go to nursing school, I was working as a phlebotomist in the hospital. The moment I stepped inside the NICU, my heart skipped a beat. I knew that NICU nursing was what I wanted to do with my career.
During my last semester of nursing school, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work as a nurse intern in the NICU and was ultimately given a position as a new grad. NICU nursing was the reason I became a nurse. It wasn't just a job for me, but a passion. I spent over ten incredible years at a level III NICU. The only reason I left was due to becoming burnt out on working weekends and holidays. My kids were young, and I wanted to spend Christmas with them!
For over four years, I chose to work in the adult nursing world. I started at an endoscopy center. Weekends off and no holidays? You can't beat that. I was never passionate about this type of nursing, but it was fun and fast-paced, and I enjoyed my coworkers and the doctors.
I still didn't feel satisfied with my nursing career, so I moved around a little to see if I could find the perfect nursing position with a great schedule. I tried hospice, pre-surgery assessment, and home health. I learned a great deal from these positions and grew immensely as a clinician. I still was lacking passion. I wanted to feel that excitement and joy of going to work again.
A month ago, I returned to the NICU. Going back to night shift, weekends, holidays, and 12-hour shifts was a difficult decision to make. I'm tired, and my feet hurt, but I'm happy! I will move to day shift next month, so dealing with the woes of nights will be short-lived.
I love dealing with the NICU babies. I love the challenge. I enjoy the parents. I feel like learning and growing more. My new career goal is to obtain my NICU RN certification. I feel energized and eager. It's a joyous feeling to have passion again. For the first time in a while, I love being a nurse again.
The author Daniel Goleman said it best, "“Life without passion would be a dull wasteland of neutrality, cut off and isolated from the richness of life itself.”