Scared and nervous … but I got past my first hurdle, thanks to the team

22 February 2024
Volume 33 · Issue 4


In the first of our series on the experiences of a nursing student, Jade Petchey describes the trepidation with which she approached her placement at a neonatal intensive care unit

When I was looking at universities in 2021 to start my nursing journey, I was 99.9% sure a specialist neonatal nurse was what I wanted to be. I loved the idea. However, as my first year of university came to an end, after spending time in two different placements, the idea of stepping foot into a neonatal unit terrified me. I had looked after children between the ages of 1 and 16 years and seen how scared the parents were when they were in hospital. How was I ever going to manage in a neonatal unit with a baby that was smaller than the palm of my hand and weighed less than a bag of sugar.

The more I thought about it, the more terrified I was. The idea of looking after someone's pride and joy that had decided to arrive a tad earlier than planned was scary. I did not feel prepared. I barely had a grip on how to perform observations on older children, let alone on an arm the size of my pinky finger. Then, in the summer, our placement allocations were released … I scrolled through – and there were the dreaded words ‘neonatal intensive care unit’ (NICU).

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