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How often do neonatal nurses see critical care newborns and how do you deal with what's happening in front of you?

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I want to be a neonatal nurse and I love babies so much and it hurts me to see them in pain so I want to help them in any way I can. I want to know how often I'll see critical care babies so I can mentally prepare myself for what I will experience in my career. #neonatalnursing #nicu #nurse #nursing

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Teresa’s Answer

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Dear Sydney, Nurses with the compassion that you describe can be a great advocate for the babies they care for in the NICU. No one would want a nurse caring for their baby who didn't have a "heart" for the baby! So, this compassion can certainly be an asset to your patients. When you go to nursing school you learn many steps that are life saving- It is important to act quickly during a crisis to handle the situation regardless of your patient type. So, yes...you will have critical patients. They can't speak for themselves and you will need to learn great assessment skills so you will know what needs they have when they can't tell you. It is a challenge- but also such a GIFT. Caring for these tiny patients is very rewarding because many of the most premature infants would not have survived even a few decades ago- Babies as small as a pound and at 23 weeks gestation (40 weeks is term) survive and THRIVE. Neonatal medicine has advanced quickly and I love the field because we are continuing to learn better ways to care for premature and sick infants. We also have the added dynamic of the family at the bedside-- they, more than anyone, hate to see their babies suffering- so the nurse at the bedside makes sure that the baby gets the best care possible and does NOT suffer. The nurse makes the baby comfortable, watches for changes in their status, provides warmth, fluids, nutrition and medications, all while teaching the parents at the bedside to support their baby developmentally. It is a GREAT career and I hope you will consider the challenge!
Teresa
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Linda Hassan’s Answer

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Hello Sydney,
I am excited to hear you want to be a neonatal nurse. Have you considered job shadowing a neonatal nurse at your local hospital? If no, I suggest you contact your local hospital and talk with the career development office to see if you can arrange to shadow a nurse and observe what he/she does on a day-to-day basis. If you are unable to shadow on the job, then ask if you can meet with a neonatal nurse for lunch, during her work lunch hours and try to get to know more about her role. Most nurses would jump on the opportunity to share their job experience with you. If you have further questions or would like more guidance, feel free to reply.

Best of luck to you!!
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