Kallie Graham, a Senior Staff Neonatal Nurse at Hennepin County Medical Center, talks about her job.
Q: What's a typical workday like for you?
It is never typical or dull. I work 12-hour shifts and may have one to four patients, depending on their acuity. I organize each baby's day in terms of feeding time, medications, procedures/testing, discharge needs and family needs. I attend high-risk deliveries with a neonatal nurse practitioner or physician and assist with resuscitation, stabilization, transport and admissions.
Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?
Neonatal nurses provide the most up-to-date, evidence-based care to minimize the long-term impact to premature babies' bodies and to the healthcare system. I am the front-line nurse who directs their plan of care from admission through discharge, which can span from days to months.
Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?
I interact with people from many disciplines, from surgeons to public health nurses and everyone in between. In a typical day, I mainly interact with babies, their families, other nurses, neonatologists, neonatal nurse practitioners and respiratory therapists, as well as residents, nursing students and nurse practitioner students.
Q: Why did you become a neonatal nurse?
The role encompasses everything I loved learning in nursing school: high-tech, being involved in and utilizing research, providing critical care, creative problem-solving, increased autonomy, working with many disciplines, and most of all, working with parents and their new babies.
Q: What do you like about your work?
I love working on a team to give the best care we can. It's one of my greatest joys to see parents proudly leave our unit with their baby for the first time, and to know that I had a hand in making that possible is amazing.