Heroes of the Month: Amplatz NICU Nurses

September 15th is NICU Nurses Day and I can’t think of a better group of people to be ANRC’s Hero of the Month. These women and men are truly saints. On top of providing critical, lifesaving care, NICU nurses provide comfort and love to our babies and friendship and counsel to us parents. These nurses are on the front lines every day – they cheer at the successes and weep at the losses. I really can’t think of another job that requires so much giving – physically, mentally and emotionally.

Amplatz has so many wonderful nurses who touched us in many ways. I know that Owen often took more than his “fair share” of their time and most of the nurses met those needs with love and skill. We tried to show our appreciation in the moment, but I’d like to call out some of those nurses who got to know Owen best.

Jenny B (Primary), if I had to guess, you had the most day/evening shifts with Owen. Not many other babies got to meet you during Owen’s six month stay, and we think that’s wonderful! You have a perfect blend of gentleness, competency and firmness and we appreciated your sticking with Owen, through thick and thin. I’ll always remember when he was in Nursery 6 and having some rough nights; we called in to get report and were surprised to hear your voice. You told us, “I agreed to work overnight, only if I could have Owen.” It seemed fitting that you were the one who discharged Owen, it was all a blur so I’m not sure if you actually were the first nurse we met, but you’re the first that I remember.

Betsy (Primary), you’re the mover and organizer always thinking about the next steps and helping solve problems. Much to my chagrin, these skills also made you a fabulous Charge Nurse, but even when you charged, you made sure to check in on Owen and me. I was even told you were calling in on your day off when Owen had his very long reanastomosis surgery – it meant so much to know that he was on your mind, even when you weren’t on the job. I always appreciated your input and calm demeanor and was happy it was you who was there when I finally had my NICU mom meltdown. Thank you for the hug and patience and, while I know you wanted to cry too..thank you for your calm when I lost mine.

Julie R (Primary), as Owen’s only overnight primary, I bet you had the most total shifts with Owen. I realize this was no easy task and I also believe the nights you were with him, were his best nights. Thank you for comforting him when we couldn’t be there and providing a quiet touch and atmosphere while he slept (or should have been sleeping). Thanks for laughing with me on the nights I was trying not to cry and for being Owen’s best advocate when some thought he was just being fussy, I remember you saying, “this isn’t Owen” and I needed that validation.

Amy V (Primary), you weren’t a primary long, but it meant so much to me that you added on to Owen’s team at the end of our stay. It was definitely a time when he needed people who knew him best and you were sure to always check in on how I was doing too. When you were assigned to other babies you always stopped to say hi and you’re definitely the number one visitor when he’s been readmitted to the other units. Thank you for always letting us know that you cared.

Rose (Primary), I don’t think either of us imagined that Owen would still be there when you returned from maternity leave. You sure were re-immersed into fire; returning just as he was coming out of surgery from his Nissen and g-tube. I appreciated your always upbeat attitude and that when you couldn’t care for Owen, because of his CMV status, you still always came by to say hello.

Sally, you’re the ultimate patient and family advocate. As his neighbor’s primary, you had Owen a lot in those first few months. I’ll always appreciate the day I felt Owen needed more pain medication and the doctors were hesitant. You saw the tears in my eyes and came and found me before I left to tell me that you would not let Owen be uncomfortable. I knew you’d stay on top of it and it meant the world to me that you were my voice when I needed to be at work.

Lisa L, 51 weeks later and the Anniversary card you helped Owen make for us is still hanging on our refrigerator. Thank you! It’s always harder to get to know the overnight nurses, but I loved your big laugh and no-nonsense personality from the minute we met. You had Owen quite a bit in nursery 7 when he was so uncomfortable, thank you for taking such good care of him and making sure he smelled yummy!

Shelley, the blood draw extraordinaire! As Owen had less and less good veins for drawing blood, I had every nurse call on you for his draws. You had the magic touch with him. Thank you for stopping what you were doing and coming to help him have the easiest blood draws possible.

Penny, as another baby’s primary who was born just before Owen, we didn’t have you very often but there were two important days that you were his nurse. You had him during his PDA ligation (which your primary was having on the same day). It was the first surgery and he was only a week old. We were so nervous but your friendliness kept us calm. Another time, when other nurses kept saying no, you let me hold Owen when he was starting to get sick. It was a wonderful hold and will always be cherished – the next day he was put on the oscillating vent as he fought to live – we didn’t get to hold him for another four weeks.

Cathy, we met you when you were Owen’s nurse on his sickest day. Chuck let us know that you asked him to pray with you for Owen that day. Thank you. I also love the way you talk to the babies, you use such a soft and soothing voice and call them all “sweetheart”.

Marla, I have a feeling there was a point when you recognized my phone number on your caller ID since I called you so frequently. Thank you for always being patient with my calls, helping with referrals when we needed them and making sure that Owen continued to receive quality care, even after the NICU.

There are so many other nurses that touched us in Owen’s six months in the Amplatz NICU. I hope at some point I’ve said “thank you” to you all, but if I haven’t; Thank you for the long hours, thank you for the precise care of these fragile super heroes. Thank you for loving what you do and loving our babies. Thank you for your part in my son being here today.

Everyday, I can’t help but be amazed that this is where he is today:

 

© Copyright Tatum, All rights Reserved. Written For: Ain't No Roller Coaster

6 thoughts on “Heroes of the Month: Amplatz NICU Nurses

  1. I know my family has been having some communication issues but overall I am in awe of most of the nurses there and enjoyed reading this.

  2. Everything you said about each person in the NICU is accurate. We came to many of the same nurses and have te same feelings. Thank you for summarizing them so well.

  3. Sorry for the additional comment but I was on my phone earlier. Despite some issues we have & are having there I am so thankful for the nursing staff that is there. Overall I know Sammy is in good caring hands when we can’t be there and they seem to enjoy taking care of him. Reading this reminds me of that and reminds me to keep the positives in mind and not be so negative. This was a nice read, thank you for sharing.

  4. Unfortunately I didn’t find your blog until a few months after NICU nurses month and after our own discharge. The nurses at that facility are absolutely amazing. Without their love and expertise, we also wouldn’t have our Owen. There is nothing I could say or do to thank them enough for saving my babies and keeping me semi-sane! And if you couldn’t tell how much they truly care when you are in the NICU, it is glaringly obvious when droves of them come out to the lobby when you come back for a visit. I love them so much!

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