AU nursing student gains real world experience working in the NICU

Anderson, Ind. —  Anderson University junior, Kaylin Lytle, is currently gaining career experience as a patient care technician in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) at St. Vincent Women’s Hospital.

Lytle started the job in January. A typical day for Lytle is filled with various tasks from stocking rooms around the unit to feeding babies or giving them baths. While Lytle doesn’t have consistent patients, she spends plenty of time helping nurses take care of the babies in the unit.

Patient care technicians like Lytle have many duties. They are often stocking the formula room because babies are constantly being fed as well as any stocking medical supply carts. They also are in charge of maintaining the golden hour room, where babies born younger than 32 weeks reside, ensuring it is stocked and ready to be used at any time. On top of stocking, they all have personal phones that nurses call when they need help feeding or bathing a baby, giving a heel stick for a blood test, or taking the vitals of a baby.

Lytle wants to work in pediatrics after college, which is why she was drawn to this job. She wanted experience in the NICU so she could understand what a job in this field is like. She credits AU’s School of Nursing for teaching her professionalism and confidence in a high-stress environment.

“It prepared me to be ready for an overall day as a nurse,” said Lytle. “They prepped me to really know what I am doing and being confident about it. It prepared me to be not be scared of seeing babies in intensive care.”

When asked what her favorite part about her job, Lytle said it was the babies. She has a real heart for helping babies and children who are less fortunate. “They are so helpless. They didn’t do anything to get these diseases and I have a lot of empathy for them and want to help them,” Lytle said.

She explains that sometimes as a patient care technician, the job is just to hold a screaming baby. Those babies are typically babies with withdraw, which are babies that are addicted to a drug because the mother was on drugs while she was pregnant.

Lytle says the hardest part about the job is when a baby dies in the unit. Infants can stay on the floor for a long time and the staff can grow close to these babies, which makes it especially hard when one of them dies. Lytle said thankfully she has yet to experience this first hand but has heard of babies in the unit dying and how hard it can be on the staff who were assigned to that baby.

This job will help Lytle prepare for life after AU in a year. While she doesn’t necessarily get to partake in direct patient care, she still has many opportunities to observe and better understand life in a hospital and on the NICU floor.

“I get to see what nurses go through and their procedures. It’s a great experience because I get to observe nurses do a delivery or an IV when I’m not busy,” said Lytle. “Getting to actually work in a hospital and see what a nurse does day by day prepares me for a job after college.”

Hannah Scott is a junior from Goshen, Ind. majoring in public relations and political science. Scott is an associate with Fifth Street Communications®, writing on behalf of Anderson University Office of Communication and Marketing.

Anderson University is on a mission to educate students for lives of faith and service, offering more than 60 undergraduate majors, 30 three-year degrees, 20 NCAA Division III intercollegiate sports, alongside adult and graduate programs. The private, liberal arts institution is fully accredited and recognized among top colleges for its business, computer science, cybersecurity, dance, engineering, nursing, and teacher education programs. Anderson University was established in 1917 in Anderson, Indiana, by the Church of God.

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