‘When a parent says ‘thank you’, it means the world’: celebrating Thank U NICU Day

In the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), the words “thank you” carry great significance.

This Thank U NICU Day, Western Sydney Local Health District is celebrating the tireless efforts of its NICU staff, who go above and beyond to provide exceptional care for premature and critically ill newborns and their families.

Thank U NICU Day acknowledges the dedication and unwavering commitment of these healthcare heroes, who play a vital role in guiding parents through difficult times, offering specialised care for complex medical conditions, and witnessing the miracles of growth and recovery in their tiny patients.

Kimberly Jao, Westmead Hospital who is a Registered Nurse (RN) in the facility’s NICU, said there are many rewarding things about being a NICU nurse.

It’s wonderful giving the parents their first cuddle with their baby, to watching them achieve all their milestones and go home to their family,” Kimberly said.

“Having a baby in the NICU is one of the hardest times these families will go through. So, when I receive cards and words of gratitude, it makes me feel like I have made a difference.

It motivates me to continue and to do better each day.”

Kimberly’s fellow RN Laura Spiteri says that the ever-changing nature of her job keeps her engaged and passionate.

“Working in such an intensive environment, it is so fulfilling to have parents who thank us for what we do as nurses,” Laura said.

“I feel a sense of accomplishment when I have been able to help, or make, someone’s day.”

The thanks for the NICU team don’t only come from patients, with Laura acknowledging the impact the team have had on her.

It truly is the most supportive team that I have ever worked with.”

Kimberly and her colleague Ebony Badman initially had reservations about working with neonates and children.

“I always said I would only work with patients who could blow their own nose and tie their own shoes laces,” Ebony said.

However, they discovered the joys and impact of their role in the NICU.

“The most rewarding aspect is getting babies out for their first cuddle with mum or dad,” Ebony said.

Those precious bonding moments that last a lifetime and mean so much.                            

“NICU is a wonderful place to work. While it can be an intense and demanding field, the rewards are so great, especially when a parent says thank you after hours of hard work keeping their precious baby alive.”

Read about NICU patient Matthew Maxwell and his mother, Rachel, here.