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Running Head: REFLECTION

Reflection: NAS Baby in the NICU

Marissa Brown

Trent University
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Reflection: NAS Baby in the NICU

Look Back and Elaborate

This week in placement, I was placed in the NICU. In the NICU I got to perform a lot of

assessments on premature babies such as respiration rate, temperature and switching the O2

saturation machine to their opposite foot. I also got to feed some babies when their mothers were

not present as well as cuddle them when I had time. There were varying diagnoses in the NICU

from extreme prematurity to a variety of problems such as Omphalocele when the intestines

protrude out the umbilicus in the fetus. In the NICU there was this one baby who was diagnosed

with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS) and was on the Finnegan scoring system. The child

was withdrawing from cocaine and methadone and had no prenatal checkups or care. After

talking with the nurse, I found out that the child had been apprehended by the Childrens Aid

Society (CAS) and was now legally owned by them. The baby, once recovered, would go to a

foster family. When the charge nurse was asked where the child would go, she responded that

she would probably go to the same foster home that her four other siblings were at. After hearing

this, I realized that the mother of this baby has had five children total and all of them have since

been apprehended and living in foster care. The mother and father showed up to see the baby,

however, they could not see the child without a representative of CAS with them. When the

mother was visiting, she did not seem sad at all that the child she had just been given birth to had

been taken away.

Analysis of Experience

Seeing a child experiencing the withdrawal symptoms such as tremors and coughing and

vomiting after feedings especially from the actions of her mother made me feel sad and shocked

that someone would do that to their own baby. Realizing also that this baby sits in the NICU
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most of the day and doesnt have a parent with them most of the time like a lot of the other

babies, made me feel upset and want to spend more time cuddling with the baby. I also felt bad

thinking about what type of future the baby was in for and compared it to mine. I hoped in that

moment that the baby would be lucky enough to be adopted by a nice family. I was overcome

with emotion thinking that this baby didnt do anything to deserve this and doesnt have a good

support system. I was so emotional that in my irrational mind I felt like I needed to more for this

baby and wished that I was at the point in my life where I could adopt her myself.

The fact that the mother and father who visited did not seem upset about having to leave

their child and not get to take it home made me feel shocked that they could not care that much

about a child, especially their own. This probably could be because they apparently have gone

through this before with four other children but myself being such a sensitive and caring person

could not believe it.

The other nurses working the floor did not seem very upset about the situation either and took

more of a judgemental tone towards the parents. This is probably because they like the parents-

are used to it happening all the time and having to deal with these sensitive situations as just

part of the job. Although I felt very emotional, I tried my best not to show it because it would

seem unprofessional. I did not like however, that the nurses were very judgemental of the family.

Although the drug abuse was a choice, if the nurses got caught speaking the way they did, they

could potentially get in a lot of trouble.

Evidence of New Learning

Looking back on this experience, I realized that my emotions all though I did not show

them on the outside, were a little over exaggerated, irrational and potentially unprofessional. I

believe that I am allowed to feel the emotions that I felt however I must get used to being in
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sensitive situations such as this one and acting in a professional and unbiased way. Obviously,

this was my first time experiencing a situation like this and was not aware of what emotions I

might have and I am glad that I did not let them overcome my ability to act professionally. I also

learned that I should take some advice from the other nurses and try not to let it affect me

however I should not act as judgementally as they did. To control my emotions, I told myself

that I must act professional and cannot take these situations too seriously. I also told myself that I

could potentially be experiencing a lot of situations like this in the future and related cases such

as child abuse, domestic violence etc., and that it would be extremely emotionally draining if I

let each of them affect me to such a substantial degree.

From this situation, I also learned what specific procedures the hospital puts in place for

children in CAS care and a lot of information about the Finnegan scale and NAS babies. I also

learned that if I have any questions about policies, where to look for them and that I can always

ask the charge nurse if I need to.

Revision and New Trial

I can use this learning in future situations to control my emotions and can use this not only in

my nursing career but in other life situations as well. For example, it would not be very

appropriate or very safe to break down and cry when driving by a horrific car crash. I can use my

techniques to control my emotions by thinking how dangerous it would be to cry and drive to

control them.

In future nursing situations, I will just have to keep my emotions in check by thinking about

the professionalism and image that I must withhold while working and how draining it would be

to get upset over every little thing. I can also use this experience to help other students and future
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co-workers and help them to overcome their emotions and tell them if they are acting

appropriately or not.

Identification of Further Learning

In the future, I believe that the learning I have gained from this experience, can benefit me in

my career as a nurse. I will also continue to develop strategies to help deal with sensitive

situations with every situation that I am faced and can experiment with other techniques and

which one works better than others. I can also share my techniques and gain advice from co-

workers and other people that I encounter.

I believe that this experience and the techniques I have developed will push me to become a

better nurse and prepare me to be able to handle every situation that comes my way. I will also

be able to relate to other patients based on the previous experiences that I have had to create a

strong nurse-client relationship. This experience has taught me a lot however it will also stay

with me in the back of my mind since it was very unfortunate.