Role Of RT's In NICU

  1. Greetings everyone. I will be starting a RT program in a couple of weeks and have a strong desire to work in the NICU after graduation. If anyone could please give me some of the duties that RT's perform in the NICU it would be very helpful.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Gompers
    Most hospital RT's are cross-trained to work everywhere, but there are positions out there that are mainly NICU-based. Our RT's are usually with us, but they do get floated at least twice a month to Peds and Adults. They had to work in those areas before getting NICU positions as well. That said...

    The duties of RTs in my unit...

    - making vent changes per MD/NNP orders
    - suctioning
    - giving inhaled and nebulized medication treatments
    - helping with intubation, codes, and tube retapings
    - bagging babies who are having respiratory trouble
    - setting up all vents and other respiratory equiptment
    - running labs on the unit lab machine

    Different units have difference responsibilites for RTs. Some units barely have any RTs, much less NICU based ones (there is a thread about that further down the NICU board). Others have lots of RTs with big-time responsibilites like drawing blood gases and choosing appropriate vent settings, jobs that usually nurses and docs have.

    Our unit-based RTs are also trained to help us out with grower-feeder babies. They do vital signs, bathe, weight, feed (both by bottle and NG tube), and hold our babies if things get busy. Some of them LOOOOOVE doing this, others HATE it!!!

    Good luck! I love our RTs!
  4. by   Princess_WannaBe
    Thanks so much for the info. My ultimate goal is to become a RN and hopefully a NNP one day. I chose to do the RT program first since I had all the requirements for it and still have a ways to go for the nursing program. Since I have a desire to be in the NICU I thought working there as a RT will give me some idea if I can handle the NICU. Thanks again.
  5. by   Gompers
    Quote from Princess_WannaBe
    Thanks so much for the info. My ultimate goal is to become a RN and hopefully a NNP one day. I chose to do the RT program first since I had all the requirements for it and still have a ways to go for the nursing program. Since I have a desire to be in the NICU I thought working there as a RT will give me some idea if I can handle the NICU. Thanks again.

    That's a good idea. If you tried to save time and go for, say, the LPN program instead of the RT one, you'd never get into the NICU. However, you might be required to work for a year or so with adults before you specialize to NICU as an RT. At least that's how my hospital works. But you'll still have much more of a chance setting foot into the NICU than you would if you were an LPN or tried to get a nursing assistant/tech job in NICU (most don't use them).

    We have an RT who went back for her RN. She worked nights and went to school a couple of days a week. It was a hard two years, but she got her nursing degree. It was a bit strange for her to transfer from RT to RN working in the same department she always had - it's like the nurses didn't quite trust her skills yet, and the RTs seemed uncomfortable at times with her decision...but that didn't last long at all, and now she's one of the best.
  6. by   rainbows4me
    Ditto on what Gompers said, although at my level 3 NICU, we currently have 2 RT positions posted that are specifically looking at/for new grads for unit-based RTs. In addition to what Gompers said for responsibilities, our RTs do sleep studies and attend lots of births.

    One of our RTs is getting her RN right now. Good luck to you!

    Rainbows
  7. by   Gompers
    Quote from rainbows4me
    In addition to what Gompers said for responsibilities, our RTs do sleep studies and attend lots of births.
    Oh, duh, forgot about those! For every high risk delivery, we send a nurse, doc, and RT. Same for every transport call, both ambulence and helicoptor.
  8. by   prmenrs
    The RTs @ the Level III from which I retired were a separate dep't from the regular RT; they were under the Neonatalogy Division; @ one time, the other RT dept used to do our equipment, now we do that ourselves. There are from 2-3 RTs on each shift; duties are as previously noted: ventilator care, help w/suctioning, hearing tests, sleep studies, checking any pt on O2 or sat monitoring. I can't imagine having a Level III unit of any size w/o very good RT support. They were awesome.

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