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- by nursingstudent_2012 Aug 31, '11Hello RNs and RN students. I am a nursing student. Just started my 3rd semester. It's our first time learning about mother and baby, peds. I am having my very first clinical rotation (of the semester) this FRiday and I am assigned to be in the NICU. I am excited but nervous at the same time. I mean I have never taken care of a sick baby before and these babies are really sick and fragile.
Any advice for a student's FIRST TIME NICU EXPERIENCE?
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- Touch nothing without a NICU nurse !!! I worked peds for a while, and floating to the NICU was part of the deal...couldn't do much but stare at the feed-n-grows, except one night they wanted me to do vs on some of the real runts....AND didn't tell me they don't turn some of them like we did with older kids....SO, I try and turn this little squirt- maybe 2 1/2 pounds, and had the poor kid so tangled up it wasn't funny (isolettes are not friendly ). We both survived, but I was glad to go back to the "big" 5 pounders!!!
- When you see the 450 gram babies, remember 4 sticks of butter (more or less)- a term baby is about 30 sticks - for comparison ..... that's all they weigh It's pretty amazing. When I went to school, I wanted to work NICU- but not happening for a new grad (at least then- 1985). They were saving 18 oz babies back then - I had a pediatric cardiologist neighbor who would take me on weekend rounds....amazing
But after years of other stuff (adults & adolescents mostly, with some pedi patients on the floors I worked), I got a peds job...and had to float to NICU. I ended up not liking it= I really liked seeing the babies, and how amazing they were (and where the frequent flier pedi patients came from), but it wasn't my thing. I didn't mind the feed-n-grows when I had to float- they were relatively stable, even if still getting tubed. But feeding and changing diapers for hours at a time in the same 20 square feet drove me nuts... But compared to a micro, the 4-5 pounders looked like sumo wrestlers !!!
Have fun watching - it really is amazing
- Brush up on gram weights- they might ask you to convert grams to pounds... most of the little squirts are weighed in grams, and then the parents get info in pounds/ounces.
- Aug 31, '11 by OneOfTheGoodGuysWell, I am not a NICU nurse but one of my buddies is a new grad NICU nurse, and they liked him enough during his clinicals that he precepted NICU and got a job in the NICU fresh out of school. This is his advice: Just be aware that NICU nurses are very protective of their little patients, as they should be. They may or may not let you touch the babies, and they may or may not be super friendly in the beginning. NICUs are closed units because a certain type of environment is absolutely essential for the survival of these little dudes and NICU nurses don't always like unfamiliar faces running around on their unit. Just be prepared to identify yourself frequently, do not touch anything without permission and always have a nurse there with you for any patient contact. Do not go into a room without a nurse with you if they are in private rooms. If you have a cold or are feeling slightly under the weather, DO NOT GO TO CLINICAL THAT DAY. These little guys are all super immunocompromised so what might be just a little cold or bug to you could be devastating for these kids. All that being said, just try to enjoy yourself. Be enthusiastic, learn as much as you can, ask questions, and participate wherever you are allowed to. Being that you already sought advice from this website about how to get the most from your experience it leads me to believe that you are going to be just fine during your rotation, so I wish you the best.
- Aug 31, '11 by CrazyCatLadyRNWhen I did my NICU experience it was basically just a observation day within our L&D rotation. The nurse went over assessments with us and she let us help put in OG tube in a baby. I wouldn't stress out about it. Just try and soak everything in. The unit I was on was very busy and the nurses didn't really have too much time to spend a whole lot of time talking with us. There are so many rules for nursing students and pediatric pts, so I wouldn't be too worried about being put in a bad situation. The only place I actually got to do much with a baby was the step down NICU. I got to help feed a baby there and do assessments. That's pretty much the purpose of that unit....feed and grow! :-)
- Aug 31, '11 by JosefVernon HodgkinsAdvice- Follow your instructor's guidance. They know more than you can imagine. Don't deviate from what is right and true. Good luck!