Any advice from NICU nurses out there? Good things to get involved with? Good magazines to read? Good shoes to buy?
Hi! I started NICU nursing as a new graduate July 2011 and I have learned a LOT and continue to learn something new every day.
Good things to get involved with- first, get settled with your unit/schedule, etc. Then get involved with an organization such as NANN and your local chapter, and a unit committee.
Good things to read- not sure about magazines, but I purchased a couple of Neonatal specific textbooks that I always keep in my bag at work for quick reference, or to read about conditions my babies have that I don't know that much about.
Good shoes- I usually just wear tennis shoes. Not sure if your unit has a dress code, a lot of my friends swear by Dansko nursing shoes but I've never been able to "break them in". If I have a long shift where I'm on my feet a lot I always feel better if I've been in sneakers!
General advice- find the nurses that are willing to teach you and watch what they do. Ask lots of questions (no question is too stupid). If you have down time, walk your unit and see if there's anything interesting going on that you could learn from. Practice, practice, practice (starting IVs, lab draws, etc.). If you don't feel comfortable doing something, find a couple "go to" people you would feel comfortable asking for help/advice. Know who your resources are and use them! My first few months I stuck some tape on the back of my badge and put important numbers on it too- lab, my charge nurses, etc. Be confident with parents- they won't know you don't have experience unless you act nervous, but if you don't know something don't try to fake it- tell them you will find out and let them know ASAP.
I hope you love it as much as I do.