Long, busy days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Neonatal Intermediate Care (NIC) at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center have held tense moments, but those are outweighed by immeasurable joy and a wealth of experience for Madisen Manning ’15.
The nursing major is completing a 10-week summer externship at OSF, where she assists nurses in the neonatal units during three 12-hour shifts each week.
“My favorite part is seeing babies I’ve taken care of for weeks getting ready to go home. The parents are so thankful. It’s amazing to see how much we help each baby grow and improve. They look like healthy babies by the time they are dismissed,” Manning said of many of the preemies, who have gained weight and have been taken off oxygen and antibiotics.
She also has seen babies being resuscitated, ones with disabilities and a Caesarean-section birth of premature twins. She actually accompanied a trip (crisis) nurse for a 180-mile, round-trip ride in an ambulance to Champaign to bring an infant to OSF. “I saw how they transition babies to our machines and bring them back to the hospital.”
Manning’s role is to assist nurses with whatever they need, whether it is changing a diaper or checking vital signs.
Manning appreciates what the externship has done for her as an individual. “When I started, I was unsure about what I was doing and was nervous about talking to parents. Now, I have confidence that other nursing students may not have.”
She has been asked to continue this fall as a patient care technician at OSF. Her senior year also will be filled with classes and two clinicals: one in an emergency department at a local hospital and another at a local school, where she will work with the nurse there.
“I’m excited about both of these opportunities. Your senior year is the only time you pick your clinical. Before that, you go wherever you are assigned. That gives you exposure to areas you might not have considered otherwise,” Manning said, noting students can be assigned to OSF, Methodist, Proctor and Pekin hospitals.
While she knows she wants to work at a hospital, Manning is unsure which floor she would choose and appreciates the clinical experiences offered through Bradley’s nursing program. During her sophomore year, she completed a clinical on an orthopedic floor. During the fall of her junior year, she worked in pediatrics and obstetrics, and in the spring, she worked on a medical-surgical floor and in a mental health-psychiatric unit.
Asked what she likes most about Bradley’s nursing program, Manning said she enjoyed the challenging classes and the helpfulness of her professors.
She especially appreciates Dr. Deb Erickson, assistant professor of nursing. “She taught my med-surg class and was so helpful. She is always there for me, whether it is school-related or not.
“I studied abroad in England, and Dr. Erickson helped me enter the EHS Global Scholars program,” Manning said. The Global Scholars program is designed to prepare students in the fields of education and health sciences for the complexities of today’s global world. Manning enrolled in Erickson’s international nursing course, offered as part of the Global Scholars program, and commented, “It was very eye-opening, and I encourage other nurses to take it, as well.”
Noting that health care professionals are consistently impressed when she tells them she is in Bradley’s nursing program, Manning offers words of encouragement to incoming students. “Classes are challenging, and everyone struggles in some way whether in clinical or in class. Remember, you can go to your professors. Don’t give up. A lot of nursing students like me stay in and study on weekends, but the payoff will be a very rewarding career.”