Quote from RNin2007
I am a BSN student in my last year, and i'm doing my rotation in the NICU. I absolutely love it there and know this is where I would like to work. We have a 23 bed, level 3 unit - no surgeries there, all of those are transported out. I had two preemies myself (26 wk 680g & 29 wk 970g d/t preeclampsia). My 26 wker did great, just had a clip for PDA. My 29 wker was sicker than a dog, lots of surgeries, typical wimpy white boy syndrome but is doing GREAT now (kids are 12 & 9 yrs old now). I am carefully defining my boundaries as a former NICU mom, into a professional role and want to be careful not to transfer my experience onto parents if that makes sense.
Anything you can tell a student who wants to work in NICU how to BEST UTILIZE my clinical time there?? Our unit does hire new grads when a position is available - I am great teamplayer and easy to get along with. I would love suggestions from any seasoned NICU nurse...as far as what to learn while I am there and what questions to ask? I'm trying to learn the vent (ack, scary! how long does that take!?) and monitors, etc.
Do you have a permanently assigned "preceptor" for your NICU rotation? If so, ask him/her what s/he would recommend focusing your time and attention on. While learning vents and monitors is interesting, and will eventually be necessary should you go to work in the NICU, I don't personally think it is the best use of your limited time as a student.
I would recommend focusing on basic assessment skills (how a normal full-term newborn differs from "healthy" preemies and "sick" preemies of varying gestational ages. It would be great to see you learn how to do an assessment on babies of varying gestational ages, anticipate the different care each would require, gain experience in basic NICU skills such as thermoregulation, vs, positioning, heel sticks, management of phototherapy, oral and gavage feeding, and parent support and teaching. An added bonus would be to gain delivery room experience in the immediate care of both well and sick newborns.
The reason I recommend focusing on these more basic skills is that they will serve you well in a number of practice settings, such as NICU, L&D, mother-baby/well-baby, general pediatrics, and home care. So in case you are unable to find a NICU position as a new grad, you will be well-prepared to go a number of related clinical settings.
Enjoy your rotation, and best of luck to you!