My senior practicum placement is at my first choice location in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at the hospital closest to my house. The NICU is where newborns who need intensive medical care are admitted and cared for by advanced technology and compassionate nurses until they are ready to be discharged and go home to their families. After my first day there, I was absolutely sure I want to be a NICU nurse, and I have faith that one day that will happen because I will not let anything hold me back.
Because my preceptor is a resuscitation nurse, we attend all deliveries in the hospital that are not a normal, vaginal delivery. We take the baby as soon as it is born, announce the gender, and provide immediate, initial care before wrapping it up and handing it to the family; for babies who have complications, we admit them into the NICU and bring them back up with us. On the unit, we use the highest level of intellect, education, and nursing skills, in combination with love, compassion, and purpose, to care for babies from birth until they are ready to be discharged.
The NICU is the best place I can ever imagine working because it is different from anything I have ever experienced. The opportunities to gain new knowledge and skills, as well as to become more involved in patient advocacy and leadership, are endless. In my opinion, one of the worst things that can ever happen to someone is losing their new baby; one of the best things in life is to have a new addition that completes a family. In the NICU, we prevent worse-case scenarios and turn them into best-case scenarios, by assisting the baby and its family during its transition from heaven to Earth. The resilience these newborns show is truly inspiring, and the miracles we see everyday is the epitome of hope and faith. It breaks my heart to see a helpless newborn struggling to survive, but it renews my soul when they are able to go home to lead hopefully long, happy, and healthy lives for years to come. Being a NICU nurse is not just a career; it is part of my identity and purpose, and I have no doubt that with faith, I will end up exactly where I am meant to be.