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1 August 2018
Child Nursing student Abbi is undertaking a number of hospital and community placements as part of her training. She describes her time working with babies in a neonatal unit.
When I first walked on to the neonatal unit for my nursing placement, I expected all the babies to be very tiny and in incubators. However I was surprised to discover there were lots of babies in the unit for different reasons.
Some babies were there because they had jaundice (which presents as a yellow colour), some because they had trouble breathing due to their immature lungs, and some babies were in fact there to gain weight.
I was surprised to see that sometimes full-term babies came on the ward, being admitted due to birth complications, or to visit to receive antibiotics if they needed them.
Handover on the neonatal unit started at 7.45am and each nurse took up to six babies.
There were lots of different rooms in the unit. There were the high-dependency beds which is where the very poorly babies went; they would usually get one-to-one or one-to-two care in these rooms. There was the room in which babies were a bit more stable, however still needed a bit of support from the nurses. Then there was the room in which the babies were nearly ready to go home, but just needed to meet a few milestones in order to do so – for example gain a few more pounds.
My job as a student nurse was to get involved in the normal routine of the ward. After handover, my mentor and I usually completed all of our safety equipment checks; this included checking out oxygen and suction and also our emergency buzzer (just in case it was needed). We then said hello to our babies and their families and started to organise our day.
A tip I learnt from my mentor is to have a piece of paper, fold it into four and write a patient’s name on each box. You can then write down exactly what needs to do be done throughout the day for the specific patients and prevent mistakes.
After this my mentor and started to do all the regular tasks done on the neonatal unit. These included:
Overall I really enjoyed my placement on the neonatal unit. A few things I have learnt:
Find out more about our nursing degrees, and studying at ARU, at one of our Open Days.