One day in my future I aspire to be like the NICU nurse who I interviewed on February 8, 2021. By just simply hearing her stories I could tell she’s an amazing nurse who changes lives each day, even if she doesn’t know it. I learned that in order to join the NICU, you need to give it your all. This was shown with her empathy while talking about certain scenarios she’s gone through. You could hear in her voice that she cares, but it’s not an easy job.
To give you some background, I learned that she worked in other areas before the NICU including the Department of Public Health in Mass, caring for traumatic brain injury patients. She then accepted a position at a hospital in Manchester NH for rehab and med surgery. Ultimately she knew she wanted to do something with Maternity or babies, and worked her way into the NICU. One thing that helped her get the position was taking a week course to become a lactation consultant. She now owns her own practice while also still working in the NICU. Certifications not only look good on a resume, but they also optimize patient care! Although getting into the NICU can be difficult, if you take some extra steps and are passionate about it, then you can get in.
The NICU as one can assume is not an easy place. Most people wonder why I’d even think of going into the NICU. Despite the losses that I will see, it’ll also be beautiful to see the tiny miracles of each day. This is something that I saw in the nurse by simply talking to her. As one can imagine, the hardest part of working in the NICU is losing a baby. To overcome these challenges, they hold onto knowing that they did everything they possibly could do to save the baby. They communicate with one another in the debrief room about things that went well, and things they could improve on next time. She also mentioned it’s challenging watching many babies withdrawal from drugs, and doing what’s in the best interest of the baby; something that becomes difficult when the parents don’t always agree. I asked her how she balances the challenges of this job with her family. She responded “you hold onto the positives of each day, especially on the really hard days”. There are days where you need to take time for yourself and reflect, but ultimately you need to remember the positives. I know this nurse doesn’t believe she’s a hero and that she’s “just doing her job”, but her compassion and dedication say otherwise.
Something I learned during this interview about leadership in nursing is that anyone can make a difference. If you have an idea or passion for something, you can make a difference by backing up your information with research and you can always make a change. One example that i learned about is something called Couplet care. Basically, the parents of a really sick baby can get a suit in the hospital and stay with their baby as the NICU nurse takes care of the baby. This allows for connection and attachment between the baby and parents while the baby heals for what could be many months. Many hospitals do not offer this, but this Nurse and hospital present their findings across the country at conferences and have seen an increase of bonding and healing. Despite conferences to share new findings, the hospital also offers education and training to continue to improve their staffs skills and allow more leadership opportunities to take place. This includes a certain number of hours a year taking classes, practicing and performing missed skills from the past year, and more.
I learned that a leader can be anyone. It doesn’t have to be a person in a higher position, but rather someone who wants to work as a team, delegate, and find ways to improve the care they’re providing. It’s anyone who has a vision for the future, and makes strides to reach that goal. It could be as little as helping another nurse with their patient, to presenting your new findings to conferences around the country. I also learned a good leader is one who knows their strengths and weaknesses of not only themselves, but of others. This allows everyone to work as a team during stressful situations, while knowing who is delegated to what. This leadership skill allows for organized chaos to happen during emergency situations, something important to save a small infant’s life.
This interview allows me to learn so much. For one I will continue to strive to become a NICU nurse. I learned if my heart is in it then I can make it happen! I learned that this nurse is truly amazing. She changes lives every day, and doesn’t even know her positive impact on the world. She is so sensitive to the care she gives to the NICU babies, and I could tell this simply from one interview. I learned to continue to look at the positives each day. If you look at the negatives it’ll get too hard to bear. Take away the positives. I also realized that truly anyone can make a difference and change in the world and be a leader each day. You don’t need to be the head of the hospital, but instead someone who wants to better something they’re passionate about. Overall, this interview reassured me that this is the speciality I want to end up in. It truly takes a special person, and I’d love to be like this nurse one day.