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How busy is your NICU??

NICU   (1,468 Views 4 Comments)
by MK6babies MK6babies (Member)

MK6babies specializes in hopefully NICU!.

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hey NICU nurses!! I am not a nurse. I am only in high school. But I am really interested in NICU nursing. However, I was wondering how busy it is in the NICU's at the hospital? Are you usually really busy like all day? And also, how many babies does one NICU nurse usually keep track of? And is the NICU ever full, maybe from a lot of deliveries all at once?

Sorry for all the questions, but I guess basically what I am trying to ask is how busy is the NICU during the day?

Thanks, and any answers would be greatly appreciated.

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8 Posts; 2,038 Profile Views

How busy is your NICU? That all depends.. Coming from having worked in a Children's teaching hospital I would say very busy.

One nurse can be responsible for 1 or up to 4 babies. You can have one really sick baby that is on the ventilator, on drips and tons of medications. You can be as we say in NI chasing the kid all day (blood pressure issues, blood gas issues etc.)

You can have a 4 baby assignment. All the babies are due to eat at the same time. There are tons of medications to give. One baby has to go downstairs for a procedure. One baby is a difficult feeder. One of the baby's mother needs alot of teaching and support. One baby just didn't act right throughout the night so first thing this morning after rounds the "Neo "

(Neonatalogist) has ordered a CBC and bloodculture not to mention a urine culture all of which you have to do. At the same time your IV is out on one of you patients who's medication is due now.

I try to give you a typical day or should I say a typical morning in the NICU. Things usually stabilize after lunch and then pick back up around 6:00 when everything else goes wrong.

I have been a NICU nurse for 3 years and wouldn't trade it for the world. I love it and find it so rewarding. Do we have busy days yes but it is what keeps us going.;)

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SteveNNP has 9 years experience as a MSN, NP and specializes in Neonatal ICU (Cardiothoracic).

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I have worked days and nights in my NICU for 2 years now... I have had from 1-4 babies, usually 2-3. It all depends on how sick they are. Just yesterday I had two ventilator babies that were pretty stable, then one got sick with pulmonary hypertension and had to get some advanced treatment called iNO. I gave my other baby to another nurse to pick up as I sorted through all the tests, labs, medications and procedures that went on. On an average day in NICU you feed babies (oral, and tube) change diapers, give medications, monitor ventilators, draw and run lab tests, perform family teaching, attend high risk deliveries with an RT/MD in Labor & Delivery, take a baby to surgery, CT, MRI, etc. I find the pace frantic at times, but I love it!

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I have worked in a Level 3 NICU for the past year as a tech/nurse extern, and I start as a graduate nurse on July 2nd. I have worked both day and night shifts. The number of babies you have depends on their acuity level. A nurse will have 2 critical babies and 3 intermediate babies at the NICU I work at. I would say the day shift is busier then the night shift, just because of the number of people in the unit. Doctors, families, specialists, procedures being done, etc., so it gets crowded, but it was not as bad as I thought it would be. It can get stressful during the day or night, because as mentioned earlier, all your babies have assessments, feedings, diaper changes, etc all at the same time, and it's when you're rushed that all the babies seem to spit up all over their beds or pull out their ng tubes! So it really helps me to be organized and have a system.

And yes, the NICU can get extremely full, just like any other unit. It can get interesting, especially when twins or triplets are born. The census can also be low. I've had a week where I only worked 4 hours out of 36, because they didn't need me! But I can't imagine working anywhere else. I love taking care of the babies, attending the c-sections and high-risk deliveries, and teaching the parents. Good luck to you!!!

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