Maggie: We are here at North Eastern High School in Springfield, Ohio about to surprise Rachel in the middle of science class, and she has absolutely no idea that we are standing outside!
Hey, I am looking for Rachel Moos.
Maggie: Hey, Rachel. I am Maggie from Channel One. And I heard a rumor that you want to be a nurse.
Maggie: Well, today is your lucky day because we are here to show you what being a nurse is all about!
Now your entire school and your family are in on the surprise. So, you ready? You want to come with me and figure out what it is like to be a nurse? Yeah? I am so excited! Alright, let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!
Maggie: Rachel emailed us a few months ago saying she wanted to care for newborn babies in the hospital.
So, you wrote in you wanted to be a nurse, and particularly a neonatal nurse. So why a nurse in the neonatal unit?
Rachel: Well, a couple years ago, my nephew was put into neonatal care and when I went and I saw what was going on in there, I just knew I wanted to be a neonatal nurse and I wanted to help people.
Maggie: Well, I am excited! We have a lot of fun to be had today. So, let’s go nursing!
Maggie: And we were off to Dayton’s Children’s Hospital to visit the neonatal intensive care unit, known as the NICU, for newborn babies that are premature or have complications.
Rachel meet nurse Jen, a nurse here in the newborn intensive care unit.
Maggie: Now, we stole Rachel out of class. Jen, you are here to give us a tour, show us what being a nurse is all about, right?
Jen: Well, we try to keep the unit as germ-free as possible. So, this helps to break down on infection rates for our babies.
Maggie: After scrubbing in, Rachel walks the floor of the NICU.
Jen: We have an open unit, which means that we don’t have individual bed spaces. We have little houses for all of our babies.
Rachel: Love the little houses!
Jen: Now, what’s unique about mommy’s belly is they’re in amniotic fluid, and it’s nice and warm in there. So, to make their transition easier, we use these special isolettes. And we can humidify the air and we keep it temperature controlled so it’s nice and warm in there. This is where our baby lives until it’s big enough to maintain it’s own body temperature and come out and be in a regular isolette.
Jen: Alright. You ready to go see a baby?
Jen: Ok. This is Christiana. She was born at 34 weeks but now she’s 12-days-old.
Rachel: How many weeks is it supposed to be?
Jen: Anywhere between 38 to 40 weeks. So, she’s still a little early right now.
Maggie: Nurses constantly check the tiny newborns. Jen takes the baby’s temperature, performs a physical check up, monitors her breathing and listens to her heart.
Jen: It’s not uncommon that our babies are born with murmurs, so we listen for murmurs every time we do their assessment.
Maggie: Then Rachel takes a listen.
Rachel: That is cool.
Jen: That is very cool, isn’t it? She does not have a murmur and her lungs are nice and clear.
Rachel: That is insanely cool!
Jen: You never knew there was an art to swaddling, did you?
Maggie: The babies love to be swaddled. Swaddling comforts the babies by wrapping them tightly in a blanket – like being in their mother’s womb.
Jen: Pull it all the way over. Nice and tight, and tuck it under him. And look how happy he is!
Maggie: So what is next for Rachel to become a nurse? In high school, she should focus on math and sciences, like biology and anatomy.
After graduation, nurses need advanced degrees, but not medical degrees. Rachel can get a two year associates degree, a four year bachelors degree or a masters of nursing. The more schooling, the more responsibilities and bigger salary.
Most nurses earn an average of $62,450, nearly double that of most other occupations.
And the need for nurses is huge. The U.S. Labor Bureau predicts there will be almost 600,000 new nursing jobs by 2018.
But to be a nurse, you have to be prepared to work long shifts day or night. And you have to have something else.
Jen: To be a good nurse, you have to be passionate about these families and these patients and the care that you are giving them.
Rachel: What’s the biggest kind of challenges you face as a neonatal nurse?
Jen: You know, sometimes the outcomes aren’t what you want them to be. But you do your absolute best. If you didn’t show up to work that day, who knows what would have happened. That’s the most incredible thing about this job. And yet the hardest part too.
Maggie: So, Rachel, you just got to spend the day as a nurse! So, what do you think? Are you still excited?
Rachel: I think it would be really fun. I think I would really like to do this. The fact that you’re seeing the babies and you’re seeing the parents around there, and know that you are impacting their life.
Maggie: Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.
- Do you think you have what it takes to be a neonatal nurse someday? Why or why not?