The day starts at 8:15am with a team meeting in one of the offices. The Medical and senior nursing team discuss the number of patients on the unit, expected admissions and discharges for that day. There are three teams of doctors (One Consultant and at least two junior doctors on each team) that cover the neonatal unit during the day. One team for the postnatal ward, one for the High dependency and special care areas of the neonatal unit and one for the Intensive care and the labour ward. After this meeting is finished the day team sits with the Night team to discuss patients in all of these areas. These meetings are just enough time to ensure you have a good cup of tea or coffee inside you before you head to the unit.
Next is ward rounds. Each of the team sees all of the patients on the unit. This is the time where each team assesses each baby by their bedside and make a plan for their care for the day. It’s also a chance to discuss how each baby is doing with their family and keep them up to date with their progress. Sometimes if there are emergencies or lots of new patients on the neonatal unit we will often catch up with parents later on.
After the ward round the various members of the team will get on with the “jobs” for the day. This can range from examining your baby, new drug prescriptions, ordering x-rays to performing procedures if needed. This is one of my favourite times on the unit as often you can find periods of time to catch up with parents, chat about their baby or other things (I have been known to talk far too much about sports with parents before). With the nature of neonatal care patients are with us for reasonable length of time. I feel really lucky in my role as I get to know babies’ and their families really well.
We are very lucky in St. Michaels, as a specialist centre, we have lots of colleagues who we work with in the management of babies who have complicated needs. This also means that doctors who normally work in the Children’s Hospital (E.g. Surgeons, Kidney Doctors, Heart Specialists) will sometimes make the journey “up the hill” at various times during the day to meet babies and their parents to give their opinion on the care a baby may need whilst on the neonatal unit.
The day is broken up by various meetings and teaching sessions so we can improve our clinical knowledge and provide the best care to babies on the unit. St. Michaels can be a busy place and we often have new admissions/emergencies. Sometimes when this happens a baby will need a lot of people to look after them. This can be quite scary, and you might be asked to wait outside if it’s another families baby. If it is your own child one of the team will always try to talk you through what’s happening and what care your baby needs
Each team finishes at a different time during the day. The night team take over care of the neonatal unit at around 8:30pm. To ensure that the night team are up to date with the day’s events there is a brief ward round of all the patients with the day and night team.
The job is busy and It can sometimes be a challenging place to work, but I love my job, there is nothing like it. It's a real privilege to work on the neonatal unit. The best part of it is being able to see and support babies and families from birth through to their discharge from the neonatal unit.