Alysha Beaini: NICU Neonatal Nurse
What is a typical day on the job like?
Supporting/educating parents, feeding, monitoring, taking bloods, preparing and administrating life-saving drugs to premature and sick babies and giving babies the best chance at growing and developing by providing an environment that best mimics a mother’s womb (minimal touch, light and sound). I work alongside doctors and other allied health professionals. At times the day may include palliative and end-of-life care of a baby.
Having a good team by your side is really valuable when times get tough.
What inspired you to choose nursing as a career?
I wanted to do something that would let me help others who were less fortunate than me and give a chance at life to those who hadn’t yet experienced the beauty in life like I have.
What would you say are three key personality aspects or skills that make for a good nurse?
- Critical thinking
What have you learned about yourself through the work that you do?
Emotionally, I’m stronger than I think I am – and I’m very fortunate to have had the life I’ve lived so far.
What’s been your best moment while doing your work?
Seeing parents go home with a healthy, happy, full-term baby after the toughest few months of sitting by the bedside watching their baby fight for their life, and to even breathe…
And the really tough moments?
End-of-life care/withdrawing care on babies who, despite all intensive care treatment, cannot survive.
How do you keep going when things get challenging?
Having work colleagues that always have your back and are always there to support you through the good and bad really makes a big difference!
Are there any surprising or odd things that people wouldn’t expect if they picked this career?
NICU babies require an environment that is warm, dark and quiet with minimal handling. We go up to six to eight hours without even touching the baby to allow them to rest and for their brains to grow and develop. We cluster cares and procedures so that we don’t repetitively break their sleep cycle. Less handling (where possible) = better outcomes.
What advice would you give to young people considering pursuing a career in this industry?
Be prepared to see both the best and worst things life has to offer: from giving people second chances at life to watching someone not make it through despite how much you’ve put into making sure that they do. You must love this job to be able to do it, otherwise the things you see will take a huge toll on you.
How is your job being impacted right now?
Covid-19 is a huge threat to our babies as they are all immunocompromised, and therefore more susceptible to disease and its impacts (i.e. death). Our NICU have put in strict protocols to ensure their safety as well as ours. Protocols include:
- No visitors allowed except parents.
- Parents who have tested positive for the virus cannot visit their baby for two weeks while they self-isolate until they are no longer symptomatic.
- Team meetings and ward rounds are no longer done at the bedside – now only in a much larger space allowing for social distancing at the time.
- Healthcare professionals who have been travelling must self-isolate for two weeks before returning to work.
- Any healthcare worker with symptoms must be tested and cannot return to work until tested negative, etc.
Do you see any interesting growth opportunities in your field, given the current challenges?
Within the field of nursing there are always opportunities to grow. Regarding the current situation, it does not add or take away from these opportunities as we are not directly in contact with patients with COVID-19.
Wondering what your natural skills are, and if your skills suit a career in nursing of other healthcare fields? Try the Skillsroad Career Quiz to discover your natural skill set, and which career options might work well for you. Click below to begin!