Neonatal intensive care unit nurse
( Kim Hairston, Baltimore Sun / April 11, 2013 )
What does your job entail?
My job involves managing the care of the hospital's tiniest patients while also providing support to their families. Daily responsibilities are mostly centered on patient care, which includes a physical assessment, feeding, bathing, administrating medications and assisting with procedures. In addition to patient care, I participate in daily rounds with the nurse practitioners and doctors and do a lot of parent education. Another large part of my job at Mercy is fulfilling the role of nursing quality and safety council representative for the NICU. This is a nurse-run committee that focuses on patient safety through quality improvement.
What kind of schooling or training did you go through?
I have a bachelor of science in nursing. I received NICU-specific job training once I was hired by the unit. Mercy Medical Center also provided training for the neonatal resuscitation program and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation certifications.
What inspired you to this career?
For me, there was never any question of becoming a nurse. I have a caring personality and probably decided to be a nurse as soon as I found out what it was. I knew I wanted to become a NICU nurse after completing a summer internship in a NICU. I fell in love with the feeling that caring for babies and their families gives you and I couldn't wait to graduate and get started.
What do you like best about your job?
The best part of my job is being a resource for the NICU families. It's very rewarding to be able to comfort a family during a very stressful time in their lives. Helping them get through the tough times and to the end of the NICU journey when they get to bring their baby home is so exciting.
What are the challenges?
The biggest challenge by far is dealing with patient death. Even with all the advances we have in medicine today, sometimes there is nothing more that can be done to save these tiny babies. Seeing a young life end and the devastation it causes the family never, ever gets easier.
Average salary $74,000 according to Nursinglink.com, a career website affiliated with Monster.