Last week, September 13th-19th, was Neonatal Nurses Week. Established 21 years ago by the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN), the week is a chance to honour neonatal nurses and an opportunity to celebrate their hard work and dedication.
A few nurses stand out for me from our own NICU journey across 4 different hospitals. Firstly, Rebecca, whose emotional intelligence and insight was invaluable more than once during the first 6 weeks of our daughter’s life. Not only was she an excellent caregiver, diligent, caring and experienced, but also had the rare ability to diffuse potentially difficult or emotionally charged situations, ultimately helping the whole medical and nursing team to work together more effectively and to forge better relationships with the families of babies on the neonatal ward. Thank you so much Rebecca for all your support.
Secondly, there was Ella who went out of her way to help our then 3-year-old feel more at ease in NICU. She always made time to stop and talk to her, engage her, and celebrate her. She made cards from her baby sister with little footprints on them and left them at the base of the incubator for her to find. She explained what each of the wires and the tubes were and what all the machines did. These simple actions went a long way in helping our young daughter to overcome her fear of the clinical setting. Thank you Ella for your kindness and thoughtfulness.
Thirdly, Adriana, almost singlehandedly got my husband and I through the first few days of shock, disbelief, panic, horror and terror after our daughter was born unexpectedly on holiday at only 24 weeks. She was so personable and friendly, empathetic of the NICU parent’s plight. Thank you Adriana for your compassion and reassurance during the most frightening time of our lives.
And lastly, there was Petra and Kate, two beacons of light in a long dark tunnel. Their understanding of our baby’s medical condition and ability to explain even the most complex piece of equipment or the most convoluted of medical situations allowed us to maintain some level of sanity amidst the chaos and confusion of the NICU. We could breathe on the days that either of them was looking after our daughter because we knew she was in safe hands. Thank you Petra and Kate for your expertise, your wisdom and your ability to remain calm at the centre of the storm.
And of course a big thank you to all the other nurses who helped to care for our daughter from the moment she was born until she went home 150 days later.