Baby Nurse

There are many parallels between motherhood and nursing, puns not withstanding. Both are caring and giving professions, though motherhood is an eternal job, while nurses can at least day.

From Mercy's pumpkin contest. Really wanted this one to win.

As it turns out, there are parallels between babies and being a nurse, at least when one happens to be a baby nurse.

A newborn baby communicates through cries and sees best 8-12 inches away, like a new nurse with tunnel vision, looking for where to chart which of 100 things in the computer system.

A 1-month-old has fully-developed hearing, responds to familiar sounds, and can tell the difference between her mother's breastmilk and random people's breastmilk (?) One month into her position, a new RN develops a better ear for all the heart and lung sounds, and continues to hear all the call lights and IV poles beeping and phones ringing long after going home. She can also sniff out coffee from a distance.

A two month-old begins to lift her head and recognizes faces. Two months in, a nurse finally feels slightly head-above-water, and recognizes familiar faces on the floor and in the rooms, because: readmissions.

A three-month baby makes eye contact. After her 90-day observation, a new nurse can remove her "new employee" badge so she can stand slightly taller, look people in the eye in the elevator and smile, knowing they're not about to comment on the new employee badge.

A baby at five months sees colors better and listens to voices. A nurse, five months in, may be better at intuiting how patients "look" and interpreting subtle changes in heart and lung sounds.

A six-month baby is learning to sit up unassisted. Off orientation, a new nurse is "on her own," but not quite, because she has a team of nurses, and an interdisciplinary team working with her on the floor.

A ten-month-old picks up things with thumb and pointer finger. Ten months in, maybe a nurse can find invisible veins for an IV through touch alone, no vein-finder or tournequette required (we'll see about that...)

By one year, a baby can look and listen at the same time. By then a nurse should be able to assess and chart, help patients to the restroom, call the doctor, answer call lights, troubleshoot equipment, and help out her colleagues, all at the same time. We'll see about that, too.


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