Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Lessons from the NICU- One Year

My how time flies!  I can't believe it's already been a year since I started working in the NICU!  I started orientation on July 11th, 2011 and started in the NICU on July 20th, 2011. Policies have changed, doctors and nurses have left, and most important: new nurses have come, meaning: I'm not the newbie anymore!  :)  I love meeting the new nurses I'm going to be working with, they all seem awesome!

So, without further ado, here are some of the things I've learned from working in the NICU for one year.
(Please be advised that these are my thoughts and no one else's.  We all know how opinionated I am ;)...)

My first day of work, July 11, 2011!

1. I can now sleep in the middle of the day without waking up!  (I love sleeping in complete darkness and used to have the hardest time if any light was visible!)

2. Peripheral IV's will start leaking and getting puffy at 0600 every. single. time. (It's a baby conspiracy.)

3. Scrapbooking is part of my job description. :)

4. Losing a baby is still hard.  

5. My favorite thing to do on my shift is cuddle a sleeping baby after a feed.

(like this except with scrubs on, hair pulled back, yellow gown on, and a NICU baby, not a friends healthy newborn, ha!)

6. Many residents have no idea what they are doing.  Bless their hearts.

7. Who you work with determines what kind of night you will have.  ie. Hardworking nurses = efficient shift, even if its busy.  Lazy nurses (and they do exist) = leave work crying.

8. There is no such thing as self-scheduling.  You can try, but the scheduling gods will laugh at you ;)

9. A sense of humor is a must.  A huge must. (Real life example: Dr.- "This baby has a yeast infection."  Mother of Baby- "Yes, I figured....I ate a lot of bread while I was pregnant."No lie- that really happened.)

10. The NICU is an intensive care unit.  There is death.  But most babies are extremely resilient and it makes my heart happy to see them go home!

11.  I feel like I have been there forever and like I just started.  And I still have so much to learn. But I do know I am capable. 

I've been pooped on, peed on, puked on, and bled on.  I've changed thousands of diapers, described poop in hundreds of different ways (seedy, mustard yellow?  banana milkshake anyone?), given plenty of baby baths, comforted grieving parents,and missed lunch breaks.  I've fed thousands of bottles, NG/OG feeds, and G-tube feeds,  changed many baby outfits (color coordinated!), and bedding.  I've been in code situations and said "goodbye" to many patients as they felt fresh air for the first time.  I've hung plenty of fluids, untangled IVtubing (multiple times a night...), and become a strong advocate for my patients.  I've laughed until my cheeks hurt (I love some of the people I work with!), I've cried over sad things and things that have made me angry.  And I love these babies.  They aren't "mine" but I care for them like they are and I can't wait to see what the next year holds!

1 comment :

  1. You are an exceptional nurse: knowledgeable, dedicated, concerned, loving, caring, resilient, and just plain wonderful. You have no idea how proud of you I am as I read your first year's description of your experiences in the NICU! Those are fortunate babies to have such a nurse caring for them.
    Love Ya!