Thursday, September 6, 2012

Off the Charts: A window into the world of the NICU from a nurse’s perspective

By Jodi RN

A musical rhythm of monitors and machines fills the air. The dim and dark corners where incubators are lined in a perfect pattern all adorned with name tags in an attempt to bring some normalcy and personality to the stark hospital world. The hustle and bustle of nurses, therapists, and doctors moving almost rhythmically bed-to-bed. Tiny babies with shiny translucent skin lay dependent on a wired world. This is the NICU. Where we celebrate new life and grasp for it all at the same time. It is a mostly happy place, mostly positive, and very inspiring but sometimes it can be intensely devastating as well.  There is immense responsibility that lies behind the doors of this world. If you don’t live it, you just won’t get it. It isn’t a job for anyone, for any nurse.

It is a special unit where we dedicate not only our time but our heart and our soul into a place that never closes, where fragile babies and their parents depend on us for comfort, for care, for prayer, for answers, and for miracles.

Nurses are not only the face but also the hands and heart of the NICU and the voice of so many vulnerable tiny patients.  

Even though it is a place nobody wants or expects to end up- it really is an amazing place. As a nurse, it stamps our heart and feeds our soul. It is a reminder that there is magic even in the small moments and that the little things we do all add up to some pretty profound and life changing events.

These babies are pint-sized heroes. Tiny, fragile, yet courageous and brave- and one of the most amazing stories anyone can be part of. As a NICU nurse I am in awe of their resilience and their strength. I smile in admiration of their determination. I applaud and rejoice in their parents, whom despite self-doubt an immense fear perform the first diaper change even through all the tangled wires and cords. I smile at the way they stand up and stand proud even through times of sorrow and heartache. I stand speechless in the amount of patience and love their parent’s give wanting nothing more than love and an ounce of hope in return. I too hope on behalf of the fight. I too join in on the fight because no baby and no parent should have to face this fight alone.

Fighting this battle can be trying, tiring, and frustrating along the way, but more importantly very rewarding too. Saving the life of one of these babies, seeing them thrive and survive and being there supporting parents every step of the way is the greatest gift and privilege I could possibly ask for. I am, and forever will be grateful for the opportunities I have been given working in such an amazing place…and there really is no place I’d rather be.

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it” ~S. Jobs

I have been a Registered Nurse for 16 years and currently work full time in a single room family centered care level 3 NICU.I am a member of NANN; National Association of Neonatal Nurses, A Developmental Care Specialist, BLS and NRP certified as well as S.T.A.B.L.E. trained. I am the creator and owner of and as well as the Peek-a-Boo ICU Facebook page and Twitter feed. was created to provide information to parents that have or have had a premature baby or a baby in the NICU and seek support from those who have been in a similar situation- as well as empowering parents with the knowledge necessary to make it through the tough times that come along with having a child in the NICU. All too often the information given in the NICU is full of medical terms that are so hard to understand. Through the website, I hope to make it easier for parents and families to understand some of what they may be experiencing and empower them with knowledge. The Facebook page was created to have a place where parents can go to find support and understanding from others who may have, or are going through some of the same things on the Preemie journey, from its start in the NICU through the childhood years.

- Jodi RN

~Empowering the Preemie Parent~


  1. Jodi,
    Very well said, it's a privilege and honor to care for these babies & their families. At a time where parents are at their all time low they depend on us and trust us to care for their baby. It's not a job for the weak - it's a job for those that have a passion about being behind the doors of the NICU. I am the Mom of a 26 weeker, a preemie in heaven and a NICU nurse and I wouldn't trade what I do for anything in the world. Thank you for sharing your passion as well ♥ April

  2. Thank you April! I am a huge fan of your blog and I thank you for all that you do not only for the babies you take care of but for and in honor of all the perfect little angels (including your precious Lily) who didn't get a chance to stay. Bless you!

  3. So sweet & thank you. Bless you too Jodi ♥

  4. NICU nurses make such a huge difference in the NICU journey! They held our hands, encouraged us, cried with us, and gave us hope. We are so, so thankful for our NICU nurses!!

  5. I really enjoyed your post. We loved our primary nurse and can't wait to go back on NICU alumni day to Thank him.

  6. So so SO grateful for amazing nurses like you! I found this site while I was in the NICU with my son. I love having perspective. My oldest daughter, now 10, wants to be a NICU nurse when she grows up and I love sharing your posts with her!