I read your comment a few weeks ago and remembered it after a night I had about a week ago and wanted to respond to your post. I've only been in the NICU for 6 months, a nurse for 2 1/2 years (but the 1st two years was in a psych hospital) I absolutely love working in the NICU. Our hospital is wonderful, doctors are wonderful, co-workers are great. We are a level 2 and 3 unit, with a newly added 12 bed unit where we now have our most critical babies. It's great because newer nurses are able to be in level 3 and gain experience. That was me last week. I always ask to be in level 3 if possible for the experience. I was admit 1, very excited. About 830pm (I work night) we got a call for a transport from a hospital 10 minutes down the road for possible seizures. Sounded fairly simple and not too complex that the coordinator let me keep the admit. When she got to us she was clearly in seizures, we hooked her up to EEG, started an IV, antibiotics, phenobarbital, and 2 fluids. a few hours later, no change, gases showed major acidosis, our PA put in lines. I was getting so overwhelmed. but I had 2 nurses in the room with me that just jumped in and started doing things for me. This was my 2nd admission, and I was lost, but they helped without me even asking. The doctor and PA helped me, explained things to me, and was very patient with me all night long.
She was in no respiratory distress but was grunting. The doc said it wasn't respiratory related though. All that we were doing did nothing to help her, We all felt a little helpless, didn't really know what was going on. Well I had to wait each time I needed to do something because by this time she was so critical I didn't know how to do things. I felt bad, but no one complained or anything. They finished their 400 assessments on their little ones and started helping me. None of us had charted since about 11pm. We did all we could until day shift arrived, I gave report and then we all started charting. The other 2 nurses didn't leave till about 830 almost 9:00 when we are generally out about 7:45 at the latest. The day nurse picked up where I left off, did the admission history for me, did the Kardex for me, all the little things I didn't have time for. My admission was now a 1:1.
I came back the next night and was waiting for huddle. We are all sitting talking and one of the nurses mentioned a code earlier in the day. Someone mentioned it was my admission. I was very shocked, as when I left my baby was on RA, no respiratory support at all, sats were 100%. Now she was on an oscillator, had coded, respiratory system completely shut down. She was on the brainz monitor and the monitor was flat, her brain was extremely swollen, fluid around her lungs. She was now the sickest kid we had in the unit. Doctors finally figured out she had HIE. The hospital she was transferred from thought she was having seizures but still fed her twice, and just said they were going to "monitor" her for the entire day before they called up. If we would of received her within 6 hours our cooling team could have cooled her and possibly had a different outcome for this little angel.
I wrote all this to say I know how you feel. I left her with sats of 100, no respiratory support, possible seizures, and thought we would figure out a cause and start treatment. When I returned she had coded, on an oscillator at 55% o2 and our sickest baby in the unit. I felt like a failure. Was there something I could have done, something I should have noticed? I felt so bad but everyone has stressed by the time she came to us it was too late, she was already 12 hours old and the swelling was already taking over, and we couldn't have realized it at that time. It was a horrible night for me, I went and checked on her whenever I had a chance and she looks like a totally different little baby. Thankfully the mother and father still thank me every time they see me for giving such good care when she arrived and I try to just comfort them as much as possible. It is really hitting me hard because it was only my 2nd admission and it was just really rough.
Also, I would talk to a coordinator or someone about others not helping. That is horrible that they would not help. It is ok to leave things for day/night shift because it is a 24 hour revolving unit and you can not finish everything, but there are things that you should do. Your co-workers should also be willing to help you, especially in a situation like you were in. I'm sorry that happened to you.