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Brent Skall
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit

Kimber Zolnier
Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Experience

This week I had the opportunity to participate in an off-site clinical, St. Elizabeth’s in Boardman. I

was assigned to a NICU nurse to follow around for the day. On the unit, I got to see a lot of different

premature babies. To my surprise, most of the patients on the unit that day were twins. All the

premature infants could be found in little incubators to help them survive. From what I noticed, most of

the infants required help breathing because their organs were so underdeveloped. The largest of the

babies was a meager 2 pounds, 6 ounces. The setting of the NICU was very different from a typical

hospital floor, especially for the NICU nurses. After speaking with one of the nurse’s, I learned that they

are assigned to a maximum of three patients but may only have one. The reason behind this is that the

premature infants require much more attention than your average newborn. They are hooked to

machines that help them meet temperature, hydration, and nutritional needs. Moreover, it is not

uncommon for the NICU nurses to sit in the room with the babies because they require close

monitoring. The best thing I found about this experience was that the nurses worked well as a team, and

collaborated in the care of all the patients, making sure that all needs were met. In addition, they

provided the families with excellent education about their child and informed them about the care they

were providing. I also noticed that the physical assessment of the premature infants was different than

that of a full-term infant. The assessment was very focused and more complete than a typical

assessment and was also done very carefully because the babies are very fragile. The NICU nurses tried

to perform most of the assessment with the infants in the incubator to keep them protected from the

outside environment. All the nurses seemed very well rehearsed in performing the assessment and did a

great job in protecting the baby from any harm. Overall, I had a wonderful experience at the NICU and
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feel that I learned a lot of new things. Seeing the daily routines of NICU nurses and the little premature

infants gave me a different viewpoint on nursing care that I had never seen before.