Brain for NICU nurses

I’ve finally come up with something that works for me in the NICU to remember what I need to remember and keep me on track during the day. My med-surg brains were certainly not going to work in the NICU. I needed something simple that could change throughout the day in case of admits, discharges, and so on. 

First, it’s not a downloadable, printable brain. It’s a plain sheet of paper that I fold into 4ths. Like so. Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.20.55 AM

Each quarter-page houses a baby, and I write down only the most basic things on this. We have 3-4 page printout that stays at the baby’s bedside and includes a highlight of their history, so most of the things from report are either on that, or hand-written at report into that. My brain just keeps me organized through the day. Here’s a close-up of how I use it:

Screen Shot 2016-04-21 at 11.20.26 AM

We start with the name, and underneath the baby’s name I have the gestational age at birth and corrected (or current) gestational age. With that is a little note about the birth and why (if) the baby came early. Next I list the feed times in a column, and insert any notes about other important times or scheduled events  (physical therapy, labs, meds, etc.). Moving on down the sheet, what milk does the baby take? Are there any updates I need to pass on to the charge nurse or next shift? And at the very bottom of the square is any assessment info or reminders to keep in mind throughout the shift.

On the right side of the same square is my checklist: C-charting, A-acuity, M-milk prep, O-order entry, P-plan of care. I check them off as I do them for each baby through the day. Otherwise I’d end up ordering milk for baby smith 3 times and not ordering milk for baby jones. Not that it’s ever happened before… ahem.

And hanging out in the bottom right is the respiratory status where I can see it at a quick glance.

That’s it. simple, quick, keeps me organized but doesn’t require lots of extra time to fill it out. I keep it folded in my pocket, and it also gives me enough scratch paper in case parents need me to follow up on something, lab calls with criticals, or the MD starts listing verbal orders.


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