Giving Nursing Students a Taste of NICU - page 5

So today I was wondering..... how well do we as NICU nurses best represent what NICU really is to nursing students? Too often, nursing students are abruptly dropped off at the NICU door, handed a... Read More

  1. by   SoCalNursingStudent
    Thank you for posting.

    I was inspired by my son's NICU nurses to pursue nursing as a career. I hope to be a NICU nurse as well. I hope to encounter a preceptor like you.
  2. by   jh78tink
    Wow, thank you for that wonderful blog! I have just applied to an ADN program and I'm anxiously awaiting a letter of acceptance. I recently lost a baby girl that had inoperable heart defects, mainly MAPCA's that were too small to bring together or even put a catheter through. She lived or should I say struggled for 24 days in the NICU so I'm very familiar with all the inner workings, assessments, etc. I continue to think back to what those nurses did for my baby girl and me in that NICU and I think that same statement you made. I think that is something I can do when I never thought I could step foot in a NICU before. I only hope that there will be a nurse with your outlook waiting to teach me the way you describe!
  3. by   dolphinbeauty09
    I hope you find that student(s) you are looking for! I start nursing school this August, and my goal is to become a NNP by 2017 (2.5 years of RN/BSN, 2 years of NICU experience, 2 years of MSN-NNP classes)... In fact, working with pregnant mothers and infants is my goal with entering nursing school. I feel very lucky that I am going into nursing knowing exactly what I want to specialize in and have my plans laid out to pursue it even beyond just attaining my RN. I want to make a difference in the lives of these precious babies and their families. I have many friends who have had preemie children, one whom just lost her son after 5 months (he was born at 25 weeks gestation), and this just reinforced my desire for NICU nursing.

    Any advice that anyone would be willing to pass along, I would greatly appreciate! And good luck to those studying and thank you to those who continue to work hard everyday saving lives and making a difference!
  4. by   fitRNpic
    I went into nursing to become a neonatal nurse and eventually a NNP. While I was pregnant, I wanted to know everything that was going on with the baby and did a lot of research. This is how I came across Neonatal Nursing. I went in to nursing knowing exactly what I wanted to do and what specialty I wanted a career in. My clinical experience in the NICU helped by confirming that NICU is where I belonged. However, where I live they will not hire (or so it seems) new grads or inexperienced nurses in the NICU/Special Care Nurseries. My first job was on a Medical/Oncology Unit (which was completely not my area of interest, but I needed a job to support my family). I was only in this position for a matter of 3 months before finally being offered a position in a level III NICU! I was extremely excited to finally start my "dream" job. I did a lot of research and studied a lot before even starting this job. Then, it turned out to not be as great as I had pictured it! I loved going to orientation every day, but felt as though I was not wanted there. The orientation for the NICU within this hospital I felt to not be what it should be (only 90 days of unit orientation before you are on your own and every orientee shared a preceptor. Preceptors would have 2-3 orientees at a time.). After raising my concerns with the manager, my orientation basically stopped/was on hold and my life as I knew it became hell. The manager and preceptors all of a sudden came up with a list of things they didn't think I was doing right or needed to work on. I was given a written warning about these things and was told that I needed to fix these issues within 2 weeks! And, they made me sign it as well!! I was fired on the last day of my 90 day orientation because they felt that I did not meet their expectations for the unit. Since then (January 2008), I have had a hard time getting any kind of job, especially in the NICU. I am always told that they are looking for nurses that have 3-5 years experience in NICU/Special Care Nursery. I have forced myself to take whatever job I can get just so I can support my family and pay my bills. I refuse to give up on my dream of being a NICU nurse and eventually NNP. I wished that I could find a NICU that is supportive and willing to hire new/inexperienced nurses in my area. At this point, I am willing to relocate to follow my dream of becoming a NICU nurse. If anyone knows of where I can apply, please let me know (you can send me a PM). Thanks for reading my story.
  5. by   DeadHead219
    WOW, I haven't even gotten off the first page and have tears in my eyes. Thank you to all you wonderful teachers, nurses, preceptors, and those who have BTDT. I cannot wait for an amazing experience like the ones I'm reading. I have an interview to be a NICU tech, and while I"m nervous, I'm totally excited about the idea. Thanks for making the day seem even more amazing! Please keep it up, us nursing students need more enthusiastic "teaching" mentors!
  6. by   MarcusT05
    wow...just reading this touched me....
  7. by   birdcage
    I think the NICU experience you get in school is something a student needs to take advantage of. I had an exceptional experience during my 1 day in NICU. The nurse sat me in a chair, told me to look at charts, and went on her way. Ok.

    I read through the charts. I watched how parents who had been in NICU for a while were so much different with their babies than parents who had just gotten to the unit. I listened to gossip from nurses and families. I watched every monitor I could find and tried to understand why the changes were happening. Once, I asked the nurse a question. Talked with the manager for a few minutes.

    Then after a few hours, the nurse told me a baby was being flown in from hundreds of miles away. The MD on the floor shoved me in a room and told me all about this baby. He didn't tell me to stay out of the way. He told me to find a place where I could see everything. When the baby got there I was right there! I saw all kinds of testing and assessments being done. It was so much better than I could have imagined. I stayed on the unit way longer than I was supposed to and I guess my clinical instructor came to look for me.

    The doctor was great and obviously a great teacher. And I don't think the nurse did anything wrong. She wasn't rude or mean. She was busy. And I had a GREAT day. I have seen admits on different units but a NICU admit is completely different.
  8. by   wee_oneRN

    Your post made me cry. I feel so bad about your experience in the NICU. I'm also a new grad that has been in NICU for 9 months now. The unit I work in is excellent: many experienced nurses, research-based practice, and with the most wonderful unit Manager I have ever seen. Still, my orientation was confusing at times and seemed disorganized. I was never made to feel that I couldn't voice my opinion, though.

    I hope that you will find the opportunity to work in NICU again. It is so difficult to find nursing positions in this economy, but don't give up! Maybe you can work towards grad school while you are searching? Get your BSN (if you haven't already) or enroll in a Master's program? If you have a Masters of nursing you would only have to take the NNP Cert classes.

    Best of luck to you
  9. by   Shanlee79
    Just stumbled across this blog and so happy I did. I am a nursing student finishing my final term this fall. I have set-up a couple shadow days for this month, to help me determine if the NICU is a good fit for me. I have always felt deep down that it would and have such an interest in this area. I am looking forward to the experience and I hope that I am welcomed by great nurses on the team who share this same attitude as the OP. Thanks for your thoughts!!
  10. by   Nepenthe Sea
    Quote from molsh3
    I have to say, I am and always have been petrified of babys. When taking pediatrics, I made sure that I was the last one to spend the day in NICU. I tried to weasel my way out of it the best I could, but to no avail. I am a male RN and I don't know if other guys have this problem but I am so scared of holding an infant, let alone a neonate. The nurses thought that my reaction to the neonates was the funniest thing in the world. They are just so tiny, and I am so scared of hurting them. My biggest fear is dropping one. I cant imagine what I would do if god forbid that happened. Anyone else have this problem? How can I get over my fear of children, I know eventually I will have to, as I am aspiring to be an ER nurse!!??
    When I was a NICU mom to 31-week twins five years ago, I was always afraid of dropping them, for some reason. These vivid images would come to my mind as I was holding them, bathing, etc. I never did drop one, and am now about to graduate from NS, hoping to be a NICU nurse. You can overcome!
  11. by   heartnursern
    I am really gratified to hear nurses and students alike sounding so positive about mentorship. We surely need more of this in nursing education. The NICU is a highly specialized care environment, and I never had to do a rotation there. OB was as close as I got. Perhaps, if mentorship were more like this discussions' environment, I might have tried it. As it was, I did get good mentorship in an ED during school, which is then where I went...and that mentorship saved me because I got thrown to the she-wolves after I graduated.

    Thank you all for a refreshing look and what sometimes can be such a negative topic.
  12. by   beauty_132
    All i have to say is i love nurses like you... and wish there were more like you.....
  13. by   irish_rainbow
    I totally agree with your post. I had 1 clinical day in the NICU... didn't learn much of anything that I can truly remember. However, I really liked the unit, so I applied for a student nursing job there and worked my last year of nursing school. Now I work on that same unit as a RN. I think it definitely takes the right kind of nurses to precept a student... even if only for a 12 hour day (or less, heck we all know that we never stayed for 12 hours on a unit because our teachers wanted to leave by 4-5 pm. :P)

    I think you definitely have the perfect attitude and you should be precepting tons if you aren't already! :-)