To All NICU Nurses
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
Nominated by Kiernan Sedam
I am a nurse in the NICU at Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in Chicago. I have enjoyed reading the stories of the nurses nominated for the Jackson Chance OwlGive award. The bond formed between primary nurses and their patients and families is a unique relationship that can only truly be understood by those who have experienced a stay in the NICU.
I, however, want to thank the nurses whose actions often go unnoticed. Those who work hours on end, knowing they will never hear a thank you. The nurse who spends extra time on a bath, when the parents can’t come in. The nurse who picks out a special outfit, a blanket, and finds a new mobile, because the patient is celebrating their “one month” birthday. The nurse who makes numerous phone calls and wakes people up in the middle of the night because something just isn’t quite right with their patient. The nurse who does crafts and makes meticulous hand and footprints to preserve a single moment and make the room a little bit brighter. The nurse who never leaves the bedside, who forgoes bathroom breaks, lunches, and even sitting down to ensure their patient is getting the best possible care. The nurse whose heart is breaking for a tragedy down the hall, but puts on a smile when walking into the next room so they can preserve hope for another family. The nurse who sings a lullaby, rocks a baby to sleep, and wipes away the tears when there are other tasks waiting to be done. The nurse who stays late to make sure everything is charted and helps the oncoming shift. The nurse who calls others in to see a smile, make a baby laugh, and celebrates each tiny miracle.
I have the most amazing coworkers. This group of people will do anything for their patients, and for each other. I am often asked how I can do my job, and it is my coworkers that make it possible. Coworkers who will change a diaper, do an assessment, help with labs, or even grab you a coffee without being asked. Who will come to work when they are tired, stressed, and burned out, because this job is too important. Because for 12 hours (really, 13), everything else needs to be put on hold. Challenging doesn’t begin to describe the work of a NICU nurse. This job can leave you feeling defeated, questioning every action, heart broken, and exhausted. But this job is also the most gratifying and rewarding career I can imagine.
All of my coworkers deserve recognition. All NICU nurses should get an award. But nurses did not choose this career to be appreciated; they chose it because it is a privilege to give your heart and soul to your patients, because there is no other job they could imagine having. So thank you to each and every nurse. Please know you are SO appreciated, and your dedication has not gone unnoticed.