I did my first two clinicals at the NICU in a nearby hospital. I really don't like this hospital, not just because it's Catholic, but for a bunch of little reasons. Like the internet bans certain websites, like yahoo, because apparently we're to be babysat in our free time. It's just the whole attitude of the hospital, the feel of it, that I don't like I guess. I do like getting to wear the surgical scrubs, because it means I don't have to do my own laundry.
NICU nursing is fun. But sometimes I wonder if I'm really doing all that I'm capable of doing. I know that I'm capable of being compassionate towards those who may not be easy to deal with. But babies? Always easy to deal with. They don't argue with you, they can't fight you on anything. Not that it's not a noble job, I just have the feeling that I'm not making as much of a difference as I'm capable of making. Nevertheless, it's easy work, and enjoyable, and gives me a connection to labor and delivery. I saw my first vag delivery and it was amazing, truly amazing and I can't wait to be in that area. I am really interested in women's health, along with the baby's, so that's why I wouldn't stay in NICU.
I learn a lot in NICU though, since it is an ICU. I saw them put in a chest tube for pneumothorax, I see a lot of chest x-rays and abdominal x-rays, I am getting interested in rescusitation techniques.
My preceptor though... oh lordy. She is something else. She's always very sweet and pleasant, but she and I have two very different nursing styles. I asked her what she looks for in her student nurse, and she said organizational skills, remembering things after being shown just once, getting things done on time. I asked her 'what about critical thinking, initiative, leadership, things like that?' Her answer blew me away. She said she's more of a technical nurse, and although she admires people who can do critical thinking, she doesn't care about it. What???? Seriously? I mean, that's what separates nurses from medical assistants, right? That we don't just take orders, and get them done on time, but that we can think about what we're doing and understand the outcomes and effects of our actions. She doesn't care about critical thinking? Then she has no business being a nurse.
Not only that, but she likes things done about a half hour early. I'm sorry, but if I'm supposed to give a feeding at 5, I give the feeding at 5. Giving it at 4:30 just throws the whole thing off and makes the documentation wrong. Unless I use my critical thinking to prioritize care, and I have to give the feed a little early or maybe a little late, depending on other emerging factors.
I just don't think this preceptor really has her head on straight. She is really focused on little things like making sure the crash card is organized, organizing the employee schedule, things like that. Which is why she likes to be a charge nurse, she likes the busy work. Personally I think they should always make her charge nurse, since she seems to like that stuff, and let the other nurses who are better at critical thinking handle the patients.
The first day our baby weighed only half a kg, like 1 lb 1 oz, he was born at 24 weeks gestation. Incredibly small and fetus-like. I just thought... maybe we are playing god here, maybe we shouldn't be trying to keep this tiny little thing alive. Those are the thoughts in my head sometimes when I looked at him, but if it was my kid I'm sure I'd want us to try.