Dear NICU Professional: You Are Not Alone

By Sue Ludwig

The NICU is a stressful place to work.

There is the kind of stress associated with taking care of premature and/or critically ill infants and their families – especially over months and years and decades. You cannot help but carry much of it with you.

And there is the kind of stress associated with all other aspects of working in healthcare – working for a place that never closes, staying up to date with never-ending requirements, meetings and more meetings, new initiatives, new equipment, new staff members, new management, hospital rebranding, research, 11-minute lunches, developing the bladder capacity of an elephant, productivity standards, new CPT codes, the budget – you get it. Sometimes the frustrations of working in healthcare overshadow the time and energy you have to actually care for patients. You are weary.

There is also joy. The joy and fulfillment associated with taking care of premature and/or critically ill infants and their families. You can’t help but carry much of it with you.

THAT is why you keep showing up. THEY are why you meant to retire 3 years ago, but can’t quite let go. THEY are the reason you try to improve everything, the reason you’re in so many meetings, why you’re so determined to find out the latest evidence, the reason you sometimes skip lunch. You are passionate.

So today, I want to remind you that you’re in this for the right reasons. Those reasons are called babies.

This is not what I had planned to write today, but I felt strongly that someone out there needed to hear it. Don’t give up. You are not alone. Your contributions are priceless.

We are here to support you professionally and personally so that you can continue to serve them in the best way you know how while you stay healthy and engaged in your work and life.

I found this quote taped to my daughter’s bedroom door (yes, she loves words as much as I do) and it seemed like it was written for you and your love of the NICU:

“Promise me you will not spend so much time treading water and trying to keep your head above the waves that you forget, truly forget, how much you have always loved to swim.” ― Tyler Knott Gregson

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You are not alone anymore. You do not have to reinvent every single wheel. NANT and your colleagues are waiting to support you!

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