Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Pediatric Check-Up: NICU or Neonatal/Newborn ICU

I'm currently doing night shifts in our baby intensive care unit, and though I hate being separated from Sunny at night, I am enjoying the experience. What do I like about this sub-specialty that Sunny's nicknamed "xeno-medicine"?

Firstly, I really enjoy doing procedures. In English, a procedure is a course of action or series of steps. In medicine, a procedure is usually a series of steps involving some kind of invasion into the body, whether that be a spinal tap, a knee joint aspiration, or in my case, umbilical catheter placement. I'm getting super-good at placing tiny tubes into babies' belly buttons, and I like it because a) no pain for the baby is involved, and I'm saving them from needlesticks b) it provides a good, reliable way to give nutrition and to get lab data. One of the things I really like about our residency program is that there are few fellows here. Fellows are doctors in training for a sub-specialty, and they often need experience with procedures. Even though our NICU has fellows, though, residents often get first dibs on procedures, with fellows supervising. I'm getting pretty good at this one, and soon I hope to become an expert at another common procedure here: intubation, or inserting a flexible, plastic tube to assure a good airway for breathing.

Other reasons to come!

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