The other night, our RT was orienting a new guy to help cover NICU. He was taking him from bed to bed, showing him around and explaining things. I heard one of the nurses on that side of the room tell him "Don't suction my baby unless I ask you to!".
When they got to my private room (with a sick 24 weeker inside), the RT told the new guy: "Be careful with the small ones, because some of the nurses are real tyrants. Especially this guy."
Now, this particular RT is fairly new to our unit, and I have metaphorically slapped his hand several times, because of his tendency to want to suction babies as the answer to any problem. Also not keen on his habit of pouring in the NS when suctioning. So, I've told him to never suction my babies unless I request it. In fact, just don't ever do it...I'll take care of it. If you can't assure me that you got all that NS out that you put into my preemie's lungs, then just keep your hands off.
Me: My heater is beeping, can you reset it?
RT: I'll just suction.
Me: Man, is it really only 4 am?
RT: I'd better suction.
Me: The Texans won!
RT: Hang on, I'll get a gallon of NS and suction!
Most RTs have more experience in adults, where frequent suctioning and use of NS may not have any dire effects. Not so with a micro-gerbil. I know any of you with more than a year or two in the NICU have seen the pulm bleeds and worse that can come from suctioning.
So, my question is: Are we tyrants? Also, is it really a bad thing that we are?
In the interest of being the best I can be...am I out of line on this issue?
I'm also often annoyed by nurses that have no idea whether lab came by to draw blood from their neonate (so, you're telling me someone opened your bed, poked a HOLE in your baby, drew out his life's blood, and you don't even know it happened? Get out!), or who run like a scalded dog every time the portable x-ray machine approaches...so sick of distorted x-rays that you can't even see the lung field for all the crap (lines, leads, ets) in the field.
I was taught by a wise old Neo that we should only be suctioning micros rarely, when we see stuff in the tube or the baby is rattling or if they are displaying sure signs of needing it. The age of q2* suctioning is in the past.