The National Association of Neonatal Therapists (NANT) is an organization created specifically for neonatal occupational therapists, physical therapists, and speech-language pathologists. NANT provides multiple ways for neonatal therapists to connect, learn, mentor and inspire while advancing this focused field of therapy on a national level.
By Sue Ludwig March 24, 2015
Along with autonomy and mastery, it’s been shown (reference below) that we really are happiest when we’re involved in something that is bigger than ourselves.
The thing is, most people have to search outside of their work to find that level of purpose. They volunteer in the evenings or on weekends. They have to SEEK OUT activities that fulfill that need.
Our work in the NICU is inherently purposeful. At the very core of neonatal therapy is our desire to work hard in the short term to help a human being have the best possible quality of life available. This makes us giddy.
Example: how happy are you when your unit receives photos of former NICU patients doing everything from getting off oxygen to being the fastest kid on their soccer team? Or the little guy that survived despite the odds, weighing only a little over a pound at birth, who is now 6’4” and applying to college? This is why we get out of bed in the morning.
Sometimes those moments truly take my breath away. It’s why there’s so little turnover in the NICU - we can’t help but be inspired by the babies and families we serve.
So the only question is this: how do we infuse this purpose and the feeling it provides us into our everyday life in the NICU? Because let’s face it, as inspired as we are, work is not always sunshine and rainbows. (Noooo, really, you say?!)
- Gather your team for just 10-20 minutes a month.
- Share a photo, a quote, a parent story, a staff story, a quick activity – anything that illustrates the purpose for which you’re working.
- Remind your colleagues that they’re working in a place of intense happiness, and yes, sorrow. Of love and loss. Of everyday heroes, and extraordinary events.
- Pat yourselves on the back for your contribution and celebrate the fact that YOUR work has purpose built right in.
We work in a place of miracles. And sometimes we forget.
Make space for this recognition in your NICU. Transform your culture.
(Daniel H. Pink. Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us. 2011)
By Sue Ludwig March 16, 2015