My name is Shauna. I'm a Charge Nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). I'm also a veteran. No, I've never served in the military, or anything remotely like that, but I feel like I'm a veteran all the same.
For nearly 29 years I've worked in the trenches of bedside nursing. The past 20 years of my career have been spent here at Children's. I'm one of the troops that provide care to countless little patients-24 hours a day, seven days a week, weekends, and holidays.
At the time I started working here I figured I would stay for a couple of years and when I needed a new challenge I would move on. Well, I'm still here, because our NICU is a place where challenging and amazing events happen every single day.
As a referral center for our region's sickest and most complicated patients, we provide the very highest level of neonatal care. It seems to me, over the years, the severity of illness and acuity has continued to increase. In order to meet the needs of these patients our nursing staff has had to flex and adapt to a seemingly endless stream of new information and technological advances. Each day, literally, there is something new to learn.
Anyone who has ever visited an ICU, or seen one on TV, knows that we deal with innumerable pieces of equipment. And they change constantly. We learn to operate new-and-improved pumps, ventilators, isolettes, warmers, scales, and lab gizmos. We master new tubings, syringes, medications, monitors, sensors, and computers. And beyond the equipment, there are updated guidelines of care, continuing education obligations, research projects, quality improvement standards, shared governance responsibilities, and state and federal requirements to add to our "to do" list. It's our job to learn and know this to keep our babies safe. Just being able to shake down a thermometer or take a blood pressure doesn't hack it anymore. Nancy Nurse, move over.