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Career Story: Nurse In A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Nurse In A Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Job Title: RN

Type of Company: A hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Education: BS, Nursing, Boston College •• MS, Nursing, Simmons College (Boston, MA)

Previous Experience: I worked for two years on an adult medical-surgical floor but decided I needed a change and so I switched to the neonatal intensive care unit (or NICU) where I have been ever since.

Job Tasks: I take care of premature babies as early as 23 weeks gestation. Babies in our unit can weigh less then a pound. I do regular assessments, listening to their hearts, lungs, and bowel. I monitor how they are tolerating their feedings. It is very important to monitor babies very closely because they can get very sick very quickly. I change their diapers and feed them, sometimes by a tube in the nose and sometimes by bottle. I do rounds with a team consisting of a doctor, nurse practitioner, pharmacist, nutritionist, and respiratory therapist to discuss the plan for each baby. I draw blood, put in IV's, help with procedures, and sometimes go to the deliveries. I am also responsible for updating families on the progress of their babies. I teach them how to feed and bathe the children, how to administer CPR, and general baby care. A nurse in our unit can take care of one very sick baby or up to four more stable babies.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of being a nurse in the NICU is to see how well a lot of the kids get along. There is nothing better then to have a family visit a year down the road and see that kids that normally would not have made it 15 years ago are running, jumping, talking, and playing appropriately. It makes all the work we do in the ICU unit worthwhile.

The worst part of my job is not knowing how some of the kids will do. There are some babies who are born with terrible prognoses. It is hard on the families and nurses. It is also very hard when any baby passes away.

Job Tips: Nursing school can be very hard. Stick with it! Try and get a job as a nursing assistant or in a doctor's office where you will be exposed to more things. You will learn more the first year of working as a nurse then you ever will in school! On the job training! Yay!

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