On National Neonatal Nurses Day.... I actually Feel like it's the NICU Families that should be celebrated~
After over 15 years of working in the NICU, I have had countless parents of patients say to me “I don’t know how you do what you do. You are truly a HERO.” And every year on National Neonatal Nurses Day I am showered by wonderful Happy Neonatal Nurses Day Messages that warm my heart and are truly humbling! I suppose myself, and the thousands of other NICU nurses that are being celebrated today have been witnessed by parents, coming to work every day with strength, with knowledge and with skill. Parents have seen us come into the unit with a heart big enough to hold a sacred space for families in crisis, to support the grieving, to uphold those that feel like they are falling and to find ways to celebrate the smallest of accomplishments and successes.
It’s a tough job…. no one can argue that. We go through the emotional roller coaster of the NICU journey along with each and every family. We are able to feel their pain, we help carry their fears and burdens, and we rejoice in the baby steps these fragile yet strong little ones take each and every day. So how do I answer their question? How do I do what I do? How do WE, as NICU nurses, do what we do? …………………I want to ask them the very same question.
How do they come to an unknown environment every day despite being terrified, overwhelmed and exhausted? How do they face uncertainty up close and personal every moment of every day and still manage to show an outpouring of love and strength to their baby and family? How do they make decisions they never imaged they would have to make? How do they leave a child in the hands of complete strangers each night and trust that everything will be fine?
For me, the nurses do incredible work, but they are not the hero’s in the NICU. It’s the families; moms, dads, big brothers and sisters, grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends who support one another through the unknown who are the HEROS. As nurses, we CHOSE this career, we CHOSE this profession and we CHOSE to practice neonatal nursing. Families never chose to need an NICU. Yet they come with strength, are open to knowledge and come into our open hearts to gain the skills they need to help their baby grow and thrive!
Families…. You are the HERO’s of the NICU! Happy Neonatal Day to all of you! To all of us!