Quote from prmenrs
I guess you would have to ask that institution, but, I don't think it would involve direct pt. care. In larger units, CNAs can be used to stock cupboards, run stuff to the lab, clean equipment, i.e., non-nursing tasks. Sounds pretty unexciting, but I can tell you life for the nurse would be a nightmare w/o that support!
That's what I did as a CNA in the NICU of a children's hospital. I would also do secretarial duties if there was not one on that shift. But it still put me in the unit, right there, so I could see what NICU was all about. It also looked great on my resume!
In my current unit, we just hired junior and senior nursing students to do CNA type duties. They do fill in for the secretaries at times, and they also help clean equiptment or go on runs to blood bank, lab, or pharmacy. But they also get to do some patient care with the grower-feeder babies. They do vitals, assessments, baths, weights, and PO feedings. At this point they don't do any labwork or NG feedings. For each baby they care for, the previous and following vitals/feedings must be done by an RN, so at least one of us has our eyes on the baby. If they find anything abnormal, like something different from the last assessment, they need to get one of us to look at the baby.
I am a little nervous about this, I tell ya. Some of them haven't had their Peds or OB classes or clinicals yet. Yes, we train them for a few weeks on the unit, but still. We also use respiratory therapists to do CNA type things if they have an extra RT. These are RTs that almost always work in our NICU with us, so they work with babies like this all the time. They also get a couple of weeks training on caring for the grower-feeders. They are allowed to do NG feedings. I just feel more comfortable with them, because they deal with sick babies all the time and know when a kid isn't looking good. But I think as time goes on I'll get used to the CNAs as well. Change is hard!
I do think that if you get the chance to work as a CNA in the NICU, jump at the job. Even if there is very little patient care - TAKE IT. It will put you right in the middle of a unit so you can really see what goes on there. You get so much experience that way.