Monday, May 28, 2012

Temporary Retirement

       This Saturday night is my last night as a NICU nurse. Will it be my last night ever? No. I certainly hope to be able to work after we settle in to our new home in Louisiana and acquire some quality, loving childcare. It will, however, be the last time I will ever work at my current hospital and I am a big ole' jumble of emotions about it. I started this job fresh out of college 6 years ago and have found myself leaving a different person than the one who started.

      When I started this job I had no idea what to expect. I may have thought I did, but truely I did not.  While I love NICU nursing there is an emotional intensity to it that I have a love/hate relationship with. You're working with people, parents, that are going through one of the most stressful times of their lives. You're there with them while they ride the roller coaster that is NICU survival.  Like a roller coaster going up-hill, critically ill infants get better very slowly, notch-by-notch; but in the snap of the fingers they are spiralling downward with a velocity that can crush a family, dash hope, and destroy dreams.  All you can do is hope that you're there when the "roller coaster", stops and the parents get off and take their baby home. Those moments are amazing. Some of my greatest NICU memories are of babies that have made it against all odds and are home today. I have a little mental catalogue of babies names in my brain who have amazed me with their resiliance and will to live.

       The sweet times wouldnt be as sweet without experiencing the bitter times....and boy oh boy NICU does not lack those. Unfortunately, death is often a cruel reality in NICU's. As a nurse its never something you want to encounter.  I have, however, learned some huge life lessons in humility, thankfulness, and acceptance from amazing parents as they let their beautiful babies go. Some of these babies died on their own and others were let go by their brave, selfless parents who didnt want them to suffer. The ultimate parenting sacrifice.

        Through my job I've met a lovely bunch of ladies that have become some of my very very best friends.  We've covered a lot of ground in 6 years.  From helping each other move (many times), to bachelorette parties, baby showers, weddings, births, nicu babies, cranky babies, breakups, makeups, game nights, date nights, and girls nights out. When I started my job I didn't know that I would make ANY friends, much less multiple life long friends. Strong, independent, crafty, crazy good time managin', party plannin', awesome mama's and friends. Thanks for being my friends ladies!

       While some of the politics and policies that go along with the job can be vexing, I am proud to say that I have had a job for 6 years that I have truely loved. While I may not have always wanted to go to work (because who wants to miss out on fun stuff at home?!). I always loved the crux of what my job entailed. Babies. Mama's. Helping. Learning.


4 comments:

  1. I came over here from the link in your current post and just wanted to say that while I cannot personally understand how helpful nurses like you are to families, we've had more than one good friend sadly need the NICU and when they do, it is people like you who make all the difference in the world. Truly. I 100% admire your profession and am in awe that you're able to find the strength to help parents through those moments because as high as the highs in the NICU are, I am sure the lows are equally as powerful.

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    1. Thank my friend, I really appreciate your kind words! :) It is always a privilege to be able to help others and I feel especially lucky to have been able to do the job I did. The lows are certainly powerful, but those times are the ones that you are needed all the more!

      Prior to having W I adored my job, however, after I realized even more the power people in healthcare have to shape your experiences. I remember the faces and words of the team CLEARLY. Going back to work was special for me and made my job even more meaningful. Can't wait to get back to it soon! Here's hoping that your upcoming L & D team is amazing! Excited for you!!

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  2. I just found your blog and had to tell you how much I appreciate what you do. I am an RN myself, but nothing could have prepared me for having my child in the NICU after her birth. The nursing staff was amazing at helping us through some really low lows, and they were just as amazing when we celebrated my little girl going home. Again, thank you for your strength- you should be so proud of yourself and what you do!

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  3. Keara, I am so glad that the staff was so wonderful to you and that your little girl is home. What you may not realize is that parents from you often give us (the nurses) the strength we need. Often you also, leave an indelible print on our lives! Thank you for following my blog and enjoy your sweet babe!

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