What should I ask while shadowing a NICU nurse?

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    So I had an interview for a NICU RN position last week and made it to the second step. I have scheduled to shadow a NICU nurse for half of their shift. They said that I would have some patient contact (but nothing invasive). I am very excited, this is my dream job. What questions should I ask? I have been waiting so long for this opportunity and I really don't want to mess anything up. PLEASE HELP!

    Thanks,
    Britt
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  3. 5 Comments so far...

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    Make sure you ask questions you've always wanted the answer to. Make sure you try and see through non-rosy colored eyes that this is a specialty that pushes your critical thinking skills, your technical skills, and your emotions. That being said, when I shadowed in the NICU, I hadn't thought I was going to choose it over PICU, but I fell in love with the babies and the families.

    Ask about nursing autonomy in the unit and about any and all opportunities to enhance your learning and career development. If you happen to be there for a shift change, observe the interactions between nurses, it's very telling with regard to the working environment. Find out if new nurses to the specialty are pushed automatically to the lower acuity kids until they 'prove themselves'. The best advice I can give to a new NICU nurse is to identify your resources and take on high acuity, challenging patients with their backup and assistance, you will learn more, faster and gain a better understanding of how what we do affects neonatal physiology.

    Best of luck!
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    Will do! Thanks a million for the advise!
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    Make sure that the questions you ask you know why you are asking them. The nurse you are following is just a person doing their job. They aren't evaluating your interest in the Nicu, they know you want to be there, otherwise you wouldn't have applied. I have had candidates job shadow me, and I have had people ask me lots of technical questions that they looked up on the Internet that had nothing to do with the patients I was taking care of that day. I felt it took away from getting to know me, and getting to know the unit.I'm not sure about every facility, but at my hospital a job shadow is an opportunity to see how you might fit in in the unit, sort of an informal unit interview, lol. Try to observe as much interaction as you can between different disciplines to see if it fits into your ideal. Do the doctors and nurses have mutual respect, do the nurses help each other out, are the assignments fair looking. See if it's a place you can picture yourself.I hope they have you shadow a person who is good at it. Be yourself, ask questions you are generally interested in knowing the answers to.
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    Thanks for all of the advice! I got the offer two days later and accepted!! I am do thankful and happy!
  8. 0
    Quote from nicuguy
    Make sure you ask questions you've always wanted the answer to. Make sure you try and see through non-rosy colored eyes that this is a specialty that pushes your critical thinking skills, your technical skills, and your emotions. That being said, when I shadowed in the NICU, I hadn't thought I was going to choose it over PICU, but I fell in love with the babies and the families.Ask about nursing autonomy in the unit and about any and all opportunities to enhance your learning and career development. If you happen to be there for a shift change, observe the interactions between nurses, it's very telling with regard to the working environment. Find out if new nurses to the specialty are pushed automatically to the lower acuity kids until they 'prove themselves'. The best advice I can give to a new NICU nurse is to identify your resources and take on high acuity, challenging patients with their backup and assistance, you will learn more, faster and gain a better understanding of how what we do affects neonatal physiology.Best of luck!
    Nice avatar, nicuguy!


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