8. There’s not much downtime
Like checking Instagram and running errands during the day? There’s not much time for that during a shift for a NICU nurse. They’re always paying attention to the babies, the monitors, and the random tubes going in and out of these kids. NICU nurses usually have to ask another nurse to cover just so they can go to the bathroom.
9. Shifts are crazy long
A 12-hour shift is long no matter how you cut it. Some days go faster than others (usually when there’s a super sick baby who needs extra attention/more work). Breaks are based off what is going on with the babies (all of them in the unit), not when you’re hungry or need a coffee. And some facilities have limited windows, so it’s extremely possible that a NICU nurse could fail to see the outside world for an entire day.
10. Discharge is good -- but also annoying
Letting a baby go home is obviously a great thing, but there’s a ton of work that has to be done before it can be wheeled out of the building. The NICU nurse is in charge of planning the baby’s schedule, and there can’t be too many things planned for the same day because it will freak the baby out. Among the laundry list of things that have to happen: immunizations, an eye exam (for smaller babies), circumcision (for boy babies!), CPR and feeding classes with the parents, and more. Plus, saying goodbye to a baby isn’t always the easiest thing.