Alexis Nicole discovered her passion for neonatal nursing through browsing videos online, and now she gives back by producing her own YouTube videos about nursing.
Alexis has been a nurse for about five years, working as an ER nurse before eventually finding her way to her longtime passion: nursing in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Originally, Alexis was set on becoming a pediatrician — that is, until she learned that she would have to dissect cadavers in medical school. When she came across a video about neonatal nursing, she shifted her focus and went to nursing school.
NICU nursing is much different from other specialties. Each day usually follows a specific structure of “touch times” — times throughout the day when nurses provide hands-on care, including checking vitals, completing an assessment and administering medication — to avoid excess stimulation of the babies and maintain a somewhat womb-like environment. Every day, Alexis schedules her touch times for her babies every three hours. Although she enjoyed her time in the ER, Alexis enjoys the structure of NICU nursing.
“I thought I used to be an ER personality, but I think I’m more of a NICU personality because I love checklists, I love to-do lists, I love scratching things off [and] I love planning my day, so it works really well for my personality,” Alexis says.
Alexis also loves to see babies go home after being in the hospital. Since she works in a level 4 NICU — the highest level of the NICU — some babies unfortunately do not make it out of the hospital.
“I get so emotional every time I see [a baby go home] because these babies have never seen the outdoors,” Alexis says. “They have never felt sunlight on their skin. They have lived their entire life in a hospital setting, so just to see how some of these babies are the size of your palm and to see them grow and care for them for months and months, and to finally see them go home with their families — that is an indescribable feeling.”
When she is not working in the NICU, Alexis produces content for her YouTube channel, The Nurse Nook, where she has accumulated 278,000 subscribers since she started it about five years ago. Initially, Alexis began her channel as a hobby, but she soon gained a following and recognized the value of sharing her experiences as a nurse.
“The reason I started my channel was because I was so obsessed with watching other people, and I eventually ran out of content to watch so I’m like, ‘You know what? Let me just make my own,’” Alexis says. “So I did. Now I feel like I owe that to the community to share my experience with them.”
Alexis aims to produce relevant content for nursing students, established nurses and people interested in the field. She especially enjoys producing NICU content to share on her channel.
However, being both a nurse and a content creator has created obstacles for Alexis since she feels the two careers sometimes clash.
“An obstacle I have run into over the years of doing both is tension with coworkers, managers and management in the hospital,” Alexis says. “I have definitely gotten pulled into the office before about a piece of content.”
Over the years, she has had to learn what content she should and should not post online, and she has had to develop a time management system that works for her because she says that “when the lines start to get blurred, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.” Alexis must intentionally set aside time for different activities, such as content creation and studying NICU nursing.
Despite these challenges, many moments stand out to Alexis as rewarding from her careers. For example, she still has a thank-you picture drawn by a child who was one of her patients while she was working in the ER.
For other women interested in the field of nursing, Alexis encourages open-mindedness to different options within nursing.
“I went into nursing school so narrow-minded and not open to all the different specialties available,” Alexis says. “I could have missed out on a really cool opportunity.”
As Alexis moves forward, she is starting a new exciting venture: she will soon be starting graduate school to become a neonatal nurse practitioner, a longtime goal of hers.
“I’m not going to say I’m not extremely nervous because I definitely am, and being in such a high-acuity setting, it’s very intimidating to know that I’m going to be a provider in this setting, so that has been kind of scaring me lately,” Alexis says. “But I know that if God laid it on my heart, it’s something I can get done so I’m really excited about it.”