*I would love to post pictures on this blog about things I've seen and done over the last 4 weeks, but I obviously can't do that :) I don't even feel right google searching NICU stuff and using pictures I've seen there. So that being said, I'm sorry this post is picture-less!*
Life has been so busy now that I have a J-O-B. 12 hour days can kick your butt pretty quickly :) I have to get up at 4:50 in the morning in order to make it to work by 6:45. And recently I haven't been leaving work until around 7:45pm! That is a loooonnngg day. By the time I get home, all I do is eat dinner and go to bed, haha! :)
But I wouldn't trade it...I absolutely LOVE my job. So I wanted to post a little about it.
I just started week 4 of orientation yesterday, so I'll back up to weeks 1-3.
Week 1-3.5: I was stationed in the NICU 2 for these couple of weeks. NICU 2 is where the "almost ready to go home" babies go. Obviously there are exceptions as some of the babies are there for >6 mo. depending on their needs and some babies end up back in NICU 1 if something goes wrong. But for the most part, this is where the "grower/feeders" stay. Grower/feeders are just the babies who have overcome their more serious obstacles and are just working on feeding through bottles or breast, keeping their weight up, making sure they can keep a good temp, etc. All the things they need to be able to do to go home and stay healthy. The first day I started, there were 80 babies in the NICU...that's a lot of babies! But my preceptor was amazing and showed me a good routine in order to get everything accomplished in a timely manner. Some days, we would have 2 hour "breaks" between feedings and assessments! We actually stayed caught up on charting. In NICU 2 I did assessments, changed diapers, held babies, fed babies, bathed babies, and helped teach parents how to do all of that as well. It may be one of the greatest places on earth! It is so cool to see a parents who are terrified to hold their infant slowly learn that they can actually take care of this tiny human.
During the beginning of my third week, I got called to the nurse manager's office and both NM's were in there. I thought, "Oh Lord, I'm already in trouble!" Haha :) But they just wanted me to know that I had already received a recognition from a parent during my second week of orientation. The mom wanted me to know that I am a great nurse and she was so glad that I took the time to explain things to her, was so gentle with her baby, and helped her learn certain things to do. One of the NM's said that parents in the NICU don't say positive things about nurses unless they absolutely mean them, so I was pleased that someone thought enough of me to say something. It definitely gave me hope that I will learn how to be a good nurse soon, ha!
Week 3.5-4: Halfway through my third week, I started in NICU 1. This is where all of the really, really sick babies are. A completely different experience. I worked 3 days in a row and left feeling completely overwhelmed each day. How in the WORLD am I going to learn everything I need to know in order to care for these babies?? Luckily, my NICU 1 preceptor is amazing (30+ years in NICU) and knows her stuff. I am learning so much from her. She taught me how to put in an IV my first day and I got it on my first stick. She was so proud of me...you can imagine how small baby veins are, it would be pretty difficult to stick those tiny things! But I'm pushing through the nerves and being overwhelmed and doing everything I can to become a good nurse. I know it has to be frightening for some parents to know someone so inexperienced is caring for their baby (with supervision...). So far in NICU 1 I've given a vaccine, cared for a ventilated baby, put in an IV, calculated meds on IV pumps, cleaned up lots of spit up ;), gotten an extremely dusky/purple, apneic baby to "come back" and breathe again, cared for 1 lb babies, full-term babies with respiratory issues, cared for babies on CPAP and HFNC, started phototherapy on bili babies, and have seen lots of crazy family dynamics.
I am excited and thrilled to be where I am, but this is definitely an eye-opening experience. I know feeling overwhelmed will pass once I figure out my way of getting things done, but it is scary to be the only one around when a baby starts going downhill. It would be for anyone and most of the nurses I have run in to are more than willing to help.
Luckily, I have 2 days off to catch up on my rest, then I'll be back at it again on Wednesday :) Sorry I've been MIA lately, but I'm just trying to get things settled and unfortunately it means a break from the blogging world every once in a while. Plus, I've been thinking about creating a whole new blog once David and I get married to document our life together...thoughts on that??