Tricia Volkmer, NICU Nurse
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
Nominated by Audra Cronauer
Nursing is a calling not a career. It takes a special person to manage numerous patients’ needs, collaborate with families, think critically, and be a team player for caring for the most innocent of human beings. Tricia is a phenomenal nurse. She is smart, compassionate, understanding, and dedicated. She worked night shift and would spend hours holding our son comforting him when he was upset. She made sure to create the best handprint and footprint crafts in order to decorate his room and celebrate the many holidays we spent in the NICU so that the hospital was decorated and more akin to a warm, cozy bedroom rather than a hospital. It would brighten our day to walk in and see new decorations that were made of Aidan’s handprint, footprint, or great photo Tricia took of him. As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words and Tricia’s actions were such that she was making sure Aidan was comfortable and mentally stimulated by music, art, and crafts, which helped stimulate his mental development.
She is very smart and respected by her colleagues. After tending to him all night her suggestions for his plan of care were consistently adopted during rounds by the day shift. She worked very well with the other nurses and doctors to ensure Aidan got the best care for his various, serious needs. Aidan wasn’t Tricia’s only patient. She cared for multiple babies and looked after me as a parent as well as Aidan. She would spend precious time on the phone with me in the morning discussing Aidan’s plan of care. When NICU-itis set in she listened to me vent and helped me cope Tricia took time to make me feel comfortable and to make sure we weren’t missing any of the “normal” things people got to do with healthy babies at home.
She encouraged us to be involved in bathing and dressing him. We liked for Aidan to listen to music and Tricia would always use her own personal cell phone and blue tooth speaker to play songs from a special Pandora mix she created just for Aidan based on what he liked. We even adopted her Pandora station because she figured out what Aidan liked and play it to this very day in our home for him. Nursing was more than her job, it was her passion. I never doubted how much she loved Aidan which made the nights away from him a little less nerve wrecking and gave us piece of mind. To this day she still keeps in contact with us and checks in on her “rockstar” who went from critically ill to thriving at home. When we returned for a follow up appointment she arrived at work 3 hours early just so she could see Aidan and visit with us. Tricia’s a special person and we will never forget what she did for us and our son. She touched our lives and gave us hope in a way no one else could.