Thursday, September 15, 2011

NICU Nurse Day

Happy Neonatal Nurses Day!  We love all of the wonderful nurses that help all of our sweet little preemies in the NICU.  There is a special place in any parent's heart who has had a preemie in the NICU for the nurses that take such good care of our babies.  They often become part of our families even after our babies are out of the NICU. 

We were so lucky to have 5 of the best NICU Nurses taking care of our little Ella.  I think about them often and know that we wouldn't have survived our NICU rollercoaster ride without them. Happy NICU Nurses Day Diana, Pat, Amy, Betsy and Jess. Thank you for all that you do for families and our little miracles.

Today our guest blogger, Nurse Jodi from Peek-a-Boo ICU wrote a blog from March 4, 2011 about what it is like for a Nurse in the NICU. If you have any NICU questions and would like Nurse Jodi to answer, please leave us a comment. Happy NICU Nurse Day!

The NICU ride, through the eyes of a Nurse
March 4, 2011 By Jodi RN

Parents of premature babies often refer to the NICU as a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, never knowing when to hold their breath and grab on tight or let go and enjoy the ride, all along trying not to throw up.

As a NICU nurse, I can tell you that we experience a similar kind of up and down feeling that lives in the air of a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. As I prepare for my work day I often wonder what lies ahead of me. Who will I encounter? Will this be an easy day, taking care of growing; feeding babies that I’ve watched come so far and are almost ready to go home with their family? The good moments of the NICU are finding that those babies once fighting for their lives are now off respiratory support, increasing on feedings, being held by parents for the first time, or even gaining the slightest bit of weight. These days make NICU nursing great. But not all days are like this. I must prepare mentally for the moments I come into work knowing immediately from the scene of chaotic hustle and bustle, that the day that lie ahead of me was going to be a difficult, rough and bumpy ride.

“Please secure all loose articles”…

As I prepare for my shift and enter the world of the Neonatal Intensive care, I must throw out any mental picture of what I wanted this day to be, and begin it like any preemie parents has to. I must get behind the eyes of the family, and empathize with them, and try to understand what they may be feeling and going through. This can often be very difficult in times where stress and uncertainty linger. The baby will always be in the front and most important seat in these times of priority, for as NICU nurses we are their biggest medical advocate.

Welcome to the NICU- “Please keeps your hands, arms, and legs inside the train at all times”…

This is life on the edge. Nowhere else in the hospital do they weigh their patients in grams instead of pounds, to avoid a medical mistake or drug overdose. Nowhere else is the margin of error so incredibly small. Everything has to be perfect, there is no room for mistakes as these little lives hang on the line; and I am holding on to the other end of it. We as NICU nurses treat these babies as if they were our very own, and when everything turns out well, we rejoice and celebrate alongside the parents. Yet when the outcome is not what was wanted, even if it was out of our control, we too, like the parents have sadness and grief.

Just like everyone else, NICU nurses have good days and bad days themselves. Good days of personal happiness, feeling elated and energetic. While other days we may feel tired, stressed, discouraged, or even burnt out. There are the days we enjoy coming to work and making a difference and other days we would rather be on a different roller coaster…maybe at Disney World?

It’s important for you to know that we are not here for the great hours, the coffee breaks, or the money- but we are, and always will be here for your baby. There is great satisfaction in taking them through skydiving and mountain climbing to finally smooth sailing as they are discharged home.

At the end of the day I, unlike the parents, get to leave the NICU behind and go back to a more predictable and somewhat calmer world at home. The blessings and depressings of the NICU still remain, but lying beneath my mental and physical exhaustion is the overwhelming feeling of satisfaction that comes along with being a NICU nurse, and really there is nothing I’d rather be.

Tell us about your favorite NICU nurse by leaving us a comment. We would love to hear your story.


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