Nurse Contest

IMG_8681

As a thank you for the last year, I am running a nurse contest!!  Win two pair of adorable Swedish compression stockings!!

Follow Neonurse on Instagram & here to enter the contest.

The winner will be randomly selected and announced March 11. Best of luck!!!! 

 

February Nurse Feature

DSC_0002I am super excited to start featuring an amazing group of nurses from around the world.  I have always loved to travel and explore.  In my own travels, I have met some truly inspiring people.  For any adventure seeking nurses out there, this is a post for you.  Today’s feature is a nurse that has made her way around the U.S. and is now living and working in the U.K.  She proves that anything is possible when you put your mind to it.  If you’re contemplating working as a traveler, here is your inspiration.Meet Tonya.  She is a neonatal nurse originally from the U.S.  She started working as a travel nurse,making her way from Florida to California, and has been since somewhat rooted in London, England.  Her next adventure leads her to Belgium.

Where are you from?

I’m originally from Florida.  I did my training in Gainesville at Santa Fe College and my first job was at Shand’s Hospital at the University of Florida.

In what area of nursing do you work? 

I’m currently working in Neonatal ICU, but have previously worked in PICU (Pediatric ICU) and PCICU (Pediatric Cardiac ICU).

How long have you been a nurse? 

14 years

What inspired you to become a nurse?

When I was in high school, my grandmother was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I visited her in the hospital and saw the nurses caring for her.  I was inspired by their compassionate and caring nature.

What advice would you give a new nurse? 

#1  And most important!

Take time to renew and recharge yourself. Our jobs are stressful and heart breaking and no one really prepares you for life as a nurse. Have nursing friends (because they will always understand and be able to commiserate), but have non nursing friends too (because they will keep you sane and stop you from talking about work so much).

#2  

Don’t let old tired nurses get you down or pick on you, tell them where to shove it! We eat our young in this profession and I don’t know why. Find experienced nurses that you trust and feel comfortable asking for advice and guidance.  They are there in your unit and are more than happy to pass on their knowledge.  And just ignore the grumpy bitches that are always complaining.

#3  

Drink Wine!!

What advice would you give a tired nurse?

Take a break because you’re not doing anyone any good by hanging around and possibly making mistakes.  Back to my advice for new nurses, take time to renew and recharge.  Patient safety is always our priority and we make mistakes when we are tired and run down.

How did you end up in London?

So England happened by chance. I met my friend Kate in Boston. She had done her registration for Australia and I had been looking into going to the UK. I kind of talked her into traveling over with me. So we did all the paperwork to get registered in the UK and found the travel company to sponsor us, and the rest is history.

What are some big differences between working in the U.S. and England?

I can’t really remember the differences, it’s been a long time since I’ve worked in the US.  As far as NICU is concerned I think taking care of the babies is the same. The nurse responsibilities and doctors responsibilities are different.  The doctors draw blood and start all the IVs and Picc/Long lines. It’s a different kind of work load. They do weird things like hourly feeds and nurses are responsible for cleaning. It is just all a little different from home.  It’s the equipment and processes that are different. The most annoying thing is working within a public system. At home we are used to efficiency and organization.  It just seems to take so much time to get anything done here.  I do have to say that the follow up care here is excellent. Our unit has an outreach team that follows the babies home which sometimes allows them to go home earlier.  There are also Health Visitors that follow a newborn from birth to 5 years old, so the hospital system is frustrating but the community services are great.

Where to Next?

My next move is to Belgium, for my fiancé’s new job.  I have to learn the language first, but may eventually look into working there.

 

 

Thank you so much, Tonya, for contributing!!  Looking forward to sharing our next feature, a nurse on a mission in the Philippines.  Thanks for taking the time to read!!  Now for some wine ❤

A Baby Gone Too Soon: A Nurse’s Goodbye in Honor of all Babies Gone Too Soon

image

I’ve worked in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for some years now-long enough to witness the struggle a sick or premature baby’s parents face in the roller coaster ride of neonatal intensive care.  It can look something like shock, followed by hope, denial , hope, sadness, hope, anger, hope, hope, and more hope.  It’s hard to know what to say sometimes.  Honestly, this is the hardest part of the job most days.

How do nurses cope when faced with the loss of a tiny patient?  I can only speak for myself.  I’ve lost babies, sometimes without any indication.  It’s tough.  We have to keep going and care for the next patient, support the next family.  It gets heavy sometimes.  I find a combination of time, talking about the loss, and writing helps.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  The following is my tribute to a premature baby I cared for in the neonatal intensive care unit.  It is my hope that it will give his parents and (and all NICU parents) some comfort in knowing that the loss of their baby is felt by many.  It is hard to work in the NICU and not grieve the loss of a baby on some level.

Dearest baby boy,

It’s been 6 months since you left us suddenly, brave little bright-eyed boy.  You were close to being discharged home to your family. Things were looking up as you grew stronger with each passing day.  It was a shock to all of us in the NICU that cared for you when you lost your courageous fight as a baby born too soon.

You endured every micro premie parents’ worst nightmare with complications from ventilator associated lung disease, patent ductus arteriosus, and bowel obstruction surgery.  Through it all you  managed to win hearts over with your sweet little face.

Your parents (like all NICU parents) stood watch by your side day in and day out.  They gave you and themselves normalcy in the otherwise frightening and unfamiliar environment that is the intensive care unit.  They changed you, bathed you, dressed you, talked to you.  They loved you so much!!

You endured painful sticks, surgeries, and were dependent on oxygen your entire life.  You were stuck, prodded, and probed all in effort to sustain your little life. You fought an amazing fight.  You were stronger than most.

I was your nurse sporadically though I wish I had known you a little bit longer.  The thing is, while there is always something special about all the sweet babies I care for, I have to maintain a little distance. It’s called self preservation and it’s part of survival for those of us who care for babies like you.  You broke me though.  You got through and touched my heart.  Maybe it was the collage of pictures that hung over your bed.  Your mom, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and puppy all watching over you day and night.

There were nights where you were restless and awake most of the night.  I would tease your parents in passing that they had to stay all night because you wanted to be held.  Karin and I would hold you, reposition you, rub your back gently to help you sleep.  Do you remember when one of your doctors, Karin, sang you to sleep?  You were loved by so many.

I was on vacation when Mary told me you passed.  It was shocking, unexpected.   Those of us that have worked long enough in the NICU see things that most people can’t imagine.  Babies die.  We learn to try to take it in stride.  Self preservation.

I’m not sure how you did it, but you stole a little piece of my heart in the time I was privileged to know you and care for you.   I will always have a little space for you there, sweet boy. You were a joy to know.  I will remember you in the photographs. I will remember you in our brief moments together. I will remember you through all the babies that follow in your footsteps.  I will remember you 💗