Who would have known that the little girl who would rather play “doll hospital” than “house” would someday work in the #1 NICU in the country? Who would have known that the preteen girl obsessed with “Cherry Ames” nurse series of books would eventually work in the #1 NICU in the country? Who would have known that the NICU nurse would become the grandmother of premature triplet boys and also work in the #1 NICU in the country?
You guessed it — that girl is me and I love being a NICU nurse at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin! Like many of us in the field, I knew from a young age that nursing was my calling and caring for babies was my passion.
Many years have passed since my first days as an NICU nurse and countless changes have taken place. Nurses who once relied on their eyes and ears to monitor infants are now assisted by detailed monitoring devices. “Homemade” ventilators have been replaced by complex machines that can do almost anything we ask of them. Surfactant, a chemical that helps the lungs expand but is lacking in premature infants, is now produced in a lab and FDA approved for improving babies’ lung function. NICUs have gone from being brightly lit, loud places to more developmentally appropriate environments. All of these improvements have meant new hope and better outcomes for our tiniest patients and their families.
But some things have not changed. Families still experience the challenges of having their babies in a NICU. Nurses and the NICU team continue to have a passion for caring for those precious infants and their families, while striving to keep up with the newest trends, treatment options and research. Each day presents new challenges, but it’s a privilege to be part of the NICU team at Children’s Hospital.
The March of Dimes has become an increasingly important source of support for NICUs across the country, including our NICU at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. As we look forward to the Milwaukee March for Babies on Saturday, April 27, we invite all of you to join our team to show support for improving the care of babies and their families everywhere.
I’ll see you there!
- Jane Taufner, BSN, RN, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is a state-of-the-art, Level IV, 43-bed unit. More than 700 infants with various health problems are cared for in our NICU each year.