Interview With Jamie Beins, MSN, RNC-NIC, SBMC NICU Nurse

The following appeared in the Saint Barnabas Medical Center Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Family Advisory Council’s Winter 2021 Newsletter.

Q: How long have you worked here and in what roles?
A: I have been working at Saint Barnabas for 16 years in the NICU as a bedside nurse. When I decided to become a nurse, I knew the NICU was exactly where I wanted to begin my career. I interviewed for a job in the SBMC NICU and was hired as a new graduate at 22 years old.

Q: Where did you do your nursing education and training?
A: I received my RN license after an accelerated nursing program through The County College of Morris in 2004 and started my career immediately. A few of years later, I got married and started having children. When my third child was 3, I decided to further my education in nursing. I started an online nursing program at Western Governors University and received my bachelor's degree in 2017. I decided to continue my education and started the master of science in nursing program at the same school. While in school, I had my fourth child and competed the program in 2018. I also received my NICU certification.

Q: What is your role and what are your responsibilities in the NICU?
A: My role in the NICU is a bedside staff nurse. I care for all NICU babies but have a special passion for those that are critically ill and/or extremely premature. I am involved in the NICU Council, co-chair the NICU Breastfeeding/Breastmilk Committee where we work to improve anything related to breastfeeding and breastmilk, and am one of the day shift charge nurses that oversees the NICU and the nurses working for my assigned shift.

Q: How did you know you wanted to be a nurse?
A: Coming out of high school, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to be. Upon attending a career workshop at County College of Morris, I completed a questionnaire to help me choose a career path. The only answer I received in response to my questionnaire was a registered nurse. From that moment, I just knew nursing was my calling. Deciding on working in the NICU was easy because I have always been obsessed with babies. When I toured the NICU during nursing school, I was amazed and immediately fell in love. Later, I learned that my grandmother was a NICU nurse for her entire career. What a coincidence. It all just came together like the NICU was where I was meant to be. As far as special training for the NICU, you do receive an extended training period compared to nurses on other units. This is due to NICU being such a specialized unit. Included in this training are required NICU specific classes and education taught by our NICU educator.

Q: What is your favorite thing about working in the NICU?
A:What I love most is knowing that I have the ability to help people. I have such passion for helping families and comforting them to get through some of the most scary and challenging times in their lives. Watching and helping the babies grow, getting to know them and their families, and watching them walk out of the NICU together, as one, is so rewarding especially knowing I helped make that possible.

Q: Have you ever been a preceptor where new nurses shadow you before they can become a NICU nurse?
A: I have been a preceptor for new nurses for many years now. It can be quite a challenge, but what I like about the experience is getting to use my knowledge to help shape someone into the best NICU nurse they can be.

Q: What does Family Centered Care mean to you?
A: Family Centered Care to me means making the family part of our team. Having them be involved in decision making, in their babies care when possible, and supporting their needs along with their babies. Just like I try to make the babies comfortable, I also try to make the family comfortable and the least stressed as possible.

Q: Do you have any suggestions for the NICU families?
A: Yes, communicate with us. We are here for you and your babies. If you want to hold the baby and be involved in their care, please speak up. Sometimes we get a little busy but we understand how important it is for you to hold, bond, and participate in your babies care. If you're nervous, let us know. We are happy to try to ease your anxiety. Also, remember every nurse will do things a little differently and have a different personality. You will naturally bond with each nurse a little bit differently and that's okay. If you feel really comfortable with someone let them know. Maybe they would be willing to take care of your baby more often. Also, one thing I always tell parents is if you don't see me panicking, don't panic yourself. There are many scary monitor alarms and noises in the NICU but not all of them are always bad. If you are worried or wondering what they are, ask your nurse. We are here to help you.

Q: Is there a personal or fun fact you would be willing to share?
A. Yes, I have a history before kids, of being a great Texas Hold'em poker player! Years ago, my husband and I used to play in a poker league several days a week. We did so well we took 1st and 2nd place in a tournament with about 200 people. I miss it of course, but get to play a little online and in the casinos here and there.

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