The special place that is NICU

Sophie Spittle

Faculty: Health, Education, Medicine and Social Care
School: School of Nursing and Midwifery
Course: BSc (Hons) Midwifery
Category: Nursing and midwifery

3 February 2015

In my last blog I discussed my gynaecology placement experience which was really great; in this blog I will talk about my experience on the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

I really enjoyed my time on NICU. I met lots of special babies who required different levels of care. Some babies required lots of help with breathing and keeping their lungs inflated. Some required operations, for example if they were born with gastroschisis, which is where the intestine is outside the body. Some of the babies on NICU were born naturally and unexpectedly admitted to NICU because they are struggling to make the transition from the womb to the outside. Many premature babies (babies born before 37 weeks but after 24 weeks) are admitted to NICU because they need extra help as they have not yet fully developed.

I was very fortunate to be able to witness an operation called a tracheoesophageal fistula repair, which is where an abnormal connection between the upper part of the oesophagus and the trachea or windpipe is repaired. This was a very long four-hour operation. The baby recovered well.

I was really impressed with the level of knowledge and expertise the NICU nurses had; they were fantastic at explaining things to parents at a particularly stressful time. I learnt a lot about how to deliver bad news and how to bring something positive to a very difficult situation. NICU nurses are specially trained to deal with bereavement and although I did not enjoy this side of my experience, it was beneficial to learn how to support bereaved parents.

I am really glad I got to go to NICU because I learnt important skills required to care for high-risk babies, which is invaluable as a midwife. I feel very lucky to have been involved with the families on NICU and caring for these special babies. There are many happy endings on NICU as the doctors and nurses do such a fantastic job. It was lovely to see babies going home who had been there for a long time.


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