I'm a NICU RT but I feel like so many of your posts apply to us as well. Thanks for the laughs.
Oh my gosh, yes! Our RTs are our brothers and sisters in arms. I love it when I can look across the bed to the RT and know exactly what she’s thinking (whether in an emergency or just that eye-roll “I can’t believe the resident/parent just said that” kind of way).
I'm thinking about going into an accelerated nursing program. But I have an 8 month old baby and still need to work. Should I try to apply or wait until he's older? I'm afraid of not being able to handle the workload. Please help?! Thank you.
Hi there! Of course I’d love to say you can do anything you set your mind to! And of course to a certain extent that’s true. But there’s only so many hours in the day. Nursing is a demanding program but I had been impressed more than once by my classmates who were juggling full time jobs and kids and school. It can be done! You just have to decide if it’s something that you can do too.
In the end, I’m going to have to throw this one out there to the group since I didn’t do an accelerated program. Has anyone done an accelerated program? What do you think?
Hey! I start my NICU residency this Monday. I was wondering if there were any books you would recommend for me to read or any other helpful resources/tips? I'd really appreciate it, thanks!
so sorry for the delay in response! click here for a link to another blog post that has some resources i put together for some other nurses in your same position.
i really like this book and am currently working through it in my down time at work.
mostly though you’re going to be cramming so many new experiences and information in that brain of yours i’d say just relax a little bit and have it come to you at an easy pace. i was so worried and so consumed with everything and trying to learn as much as i could i didn’t really give myself time to just pause and enjoy the experience of being a new nurse learning about something i loved. i remember thinking so often that so much of what i learned in school didn’t make a lick of sense until i got to experience it first hand.
i hope you’re enjoying it and learning some great things. most importantly, welcome to the world of nicu nursing!
Hi there! I just graduated nursing school and I have an interview coming up for the NICU :D Can you suggest any ways to prepare/any common questions they might ask? Thanks so much :)
some questions often asked in nursing interviews are (be prepared to give examples of how you’ve done each!):
how do you multitask?
how do you deal with angry families?
how do you deal with a difficult co-worker?
how do you advocate for your families?
how do you prioritize your care?
how do you deal with stress?
what was a time that you know something that you did positively affected the care your patient received?
talk about a time you saw another nurse, care partner, or doctor doing something incorrectly. how did you handle it?
what would you do if someone asked you to do something outside of your scope of practice?
one of my favorite interview questions of all time was, “tell us about your proudest moment in patient care”. it was one of the first questions they asked me and it not only set a great tone for the interview but it also gave me a free pass to talk myself up a bit.
also just as important is to come to the interview with your own questions. some examples are:
what’s your nurse to patient ratio?
what is it about your unit that makes your nurses stay year after year?
what model of care do you use? (i.e. use of care partners)
what qualities do your most successful nurses possess?
I sure hope this helps! Good luck with your interview!
Hi, I found your blog through the NICU nursing tag, and I'm just wondering if I could get some advice! I'm looking to become a NICU nurse and I'm just wondering what steps need to be taken to become one (schooling, degrees, certificates, how long it usually takes etc). There's lots of information out there about general nursing, not so much about specialized. Any advice at all would absolutely help, thank you so much!
so sorry it’s taken me a while to get to all the wonderful “asks” in my inbox. things have been a little crazy in my world.
here are the basic points to answer your question:
get a job! i went for a competitive nurse residency program and it was the best decision of my life. these programs are specifically designed to transition the new graduate nurse to professional nursing. http://directory.ccnecommunity.org/reports_residency/resaccprog.asp i was able to choose a pediatrics track and then was matched to the nicu. if this isn’t something that’s available to you finding a job in labor and delivery, pediatrics, or any icu experience will generally be enough to get you in the door.
certifications required are your basic life support and then once you’re a nicu nurse your neonatal resuscitation provider which teaches you how to recover an infant in distress in the delivery room setting. some hospitals will want you to have pediatric advanced life support as well but i’d wait on this until you know for sure.
“A parent calls for an update. I let her know one of our volunteers is currently holding at the bedside because baby was getting fussy. Parent then asks, “She’s not going to breastfeed him, is she?” (!) - Submitted by Anonymous”—
I have 5 nurses on my NICU team, they "signed up" when my daughter was born. I want to do nice things for them but I've been told it isn't okay to give gifts to care providers. Is a gift card to the au Bon Pain downstairs okay? Is breakfast okay? Is it really bad to give gifts to the women responsible for saving my child and keeping me sane? I don't want to make them uncomfortable at all.
I think that it’s so wonderful that you want to do something nice for the nurses who have been with you and your daughter during your NICU stay and Au Bon Pain is quite tasty… And it’s so sweet of you to go to the extra effort to inquire about this for your nurses.
As a general policy though, most hospitals do not allow their staff from accepting gifts from patients. However, sometimes parents will get a nurse something of nominal value with whom they’ve shared a special bond and this is okay. If you’re set on the gift card idea, it would be best to give them to the nurses on your day of discharge so that nothing can be perceived as an ethical dilemma for your nurses. It should also be of minimal value (under $20).
I can tell you from my own experience one of the things that I cherish most from the families I’ve helped is a simple handwritten note of thanks telling me how I specifically made a difference in their life. (And passing a note along to your nurses’ manager can make a huge impact for them in their work.) Myself and many of my colleagues keep these notes for the remainder of our careers. We go back and look at them after a particularly hard day or when we want to take a trip down memory lane. Sometimes families will also send along pictures or give things like ornaments and these are cherished keepsakes too.
I hope this helps. A heartfelt thank you is always appreciated and I imagine with 5 nurses signed up on your little one you’ve done a great job of expressing that already.
As a family member of a NICU baby, I wanted to thank you for holding babies all day, and for holding the hands of the family as well. We are as much your patients as the babies. You take care of us during the long hours and longer nights while we sit by the incubators, terrified to leave in case something goes wrong. Every day you see the thing we fear most, something that would wreck a normal person, and you still come back in the morning. I don't know how. Thank you for holding babies all day.
Thank you so much for your sweet words. They truly touched my heart and reminded me of why I chose this profession in the first place.
I hope your NICU baby is doing wonderfully and on his/her way to discharge soon!
I originally went to school for nursing but switched majors and ended up graduating with a BS in psych. Do you think it's too late to go back to school for nursing? And what is your advice on what steps I should take if I do decide to go back to school?
It’s never too late to go back to school for nursing; especially if that’s your dream. I actually had someone in my graduating class who originally received a BS in Psychology and decided that she didn’t want to go on to several more years of schooling and have to get a master’s or PhD to work. So she tried nursing and fell in love with it.
As far as logistics go, I imagine that many of your credits will transfer over which is nice. If you’d like to get your BSN many colleges and universities have whats called a bridge program. This allows you to take an accelerated path towards your nursing degree since you have a bachelors degree already and would have already completed so many core prerequisites.
I am not that familiar with what’s involved in a BS in Psychology, but I would image that you will have some more science pre-reqs to get through. i.e. Human Anatomy and Physiology and Microbiology.
Most universities have info sessions and advisers who can help you get on your way relatively easy.
The only other thing I would touch on is for you to examine why you switched in the first place. What was it that made you think nursing wasn’t the right choice? Chances are the program itself hasn’t changed so what in you has changed? If there was something about nursing that turned you off (it’s not for everyone and that’s okay!) be honest with yourself before committing to the program again. If it was just life circumstances, get back in there and be a great nurse! =)
I hope this helps! Feel free to let me know if you have more specific questions. Good luck with your search and I hope that whatever path you end up on leads you to happiness.
“I realized that being a nurse is incomparable: as we care for our patients, we learn how to cover our sorrow with a smile; we learn how to stay vigorous despite all the tasks we endure; we learn how to give hope even though our’s is unclearly seen; we learn how to give strength even at times that we are weak. Nobody would know what kind of life a nurse has unless they become one.”—Unknown (via justanurse)