1 August 2018
When I first walked on to the not so little neonatal unit, I expected all the babies to be very tiny and in incubators. However I was surprised to discover there were lots of babies in the unit for all different reasons.
Some babies were there because they had jaundice (which presents as a yellow colour), some babies were there because they had trouble breathing due to their immature lungs and some babies were in fact there to gain weight. But I was surprised to see that sometimes full term babies came on the ward sometimes being admitted due to birth complications, other times they came to visit to receive antibiotics if they needed them.
Handover on the neonatal unit started at 07:45 and each nurse took up to six babies. There were lots of different rooms in the unit. There were the high dependency beds which is where the very poorly babies went; they would usually get one-to-one or one-to-two care in these rooms. There was the room in which babies were a bit more stable, however still needed a bit of support from the nurses. Then there was the room in which the babies were nearly ready to go home, however just needed to meet a few milestones in order to do so i.e. gain a few more pounds.
My job as a student was to get involved in the normal routine of the ward. After handover, my mentor and I usually completed all of our safety equipment checks; this included checking out oxygen and suction and also our emergency buzzer (just in case it was needed). We then said hello to our babies and their families and started to organise our day. A tip I learnt from my mentor is to have a piece of paper, fold it into four and write a patient’s name on each box, therefore you can write down exactly what needs to do be done throughout the day for the specific patients and prevent mistakes.
After this my mentor and started to do all the regular tasks done on the neonatal unit. This included:
Overall I really enjoyed it. A few things I have learnt from the neonatal unit:
1. Always organise your time; try and spend a few minutes at the start of the shift if possible writing down everything that needs to be done throughout the day as it will ensure that nothing is forgotten.
2. Always ask for help if it is needed; always work within your competences and ask your mentor if you need anything, they are happy to help you.
3. Being confident; take every learning opportunity that you can and ask your mentor questions throughout the day.