My wife is a NICU nurse. This is an explanation of what a NICU nurse is from a husband’s perspective. I have grown tired of hearing that others believe it is a job where they sit and watch babies and change diapers. Everyday my wife goes to a job where patients have the possibility of passing away. Everyday my wife goes to a job where she sees the innocent, the beautiful, those who are precious in God’s sight struggle and fight to live. Everyday my wife goes into work not just being there for her babies but also being a shoulder to cry on, and someone to laugh with for these beautiful and heartbroken families. Everyday my wife and countless NICU nurses know that the next shift will drain them, crush them, but in the end know that it was all worth it.
A NICU nurse has to be courageous, fearless, strong, loving, and selfless.
My wife is courageous because she walks into a unit where death is waiting around every corner and she stares it in the face and says not today. She will do everything possible to keep her patients alive for one more day until they go home. Be that a physical home or a heavenly home. She is courageous because she will not give up on these babies because they will not give up on life.
My wife is fearless because what she has to do on a daily basis. This does not include sitting and rocking a baby unless you are sitting and rocking a baby as they pass away because their family can’t get there in time. Everyday my wife will more than likely start IVs, change vent settings, administer medicines, resuscitate a child, run all over the unit for supplies, explain to families what is happening to their child, and give updates to the doctor. Doing this for one child for a 12 hour shift sounds daunting, my wife normally has 3 to 5 babies every day. So if someone tells you that they are a NICU nurse, please don’t say, “Oh, you watch babies.”
My wife is strong because of the physical, emotional, and psychological stress she endures every time she clocks in and puts on her scrubs. So many times my wife has come home never taking a break or a lunch and forgetting to go to the bathroom for an entire day. This doesn’t sound like a job where you are just watching babies. The emotional strain that I see put on my wife is immense. There have been nights when she has cried herself to sleep because of the loss of a child. Their have been nights that have gone sleepless because she is worried about her patients. There are days when she cries to me for the parents that are hurting. A NICU nurse never goes home. Their patients are always on their minds. Psychologically knowing that every time you go into work, you may have to watch an infant breathe their last breath, but still everyday going in with hope that one of these precious babies may get to go home and live a normal/almost normal life. My wife is the strongest person that I know.
My wife is loving because it is not only about her patients but also the families. She has so many written responsibilities, but the unwritten responsibilities are just as consuming. My wife will love every patient and every family that crosses her path. She will sit and cry, laugh, or do whatever is needed for a family to feel loved and know that someone is on her side. My wife meets families in their greatest time of need and heartache and ministers to them. My wife will sit and listen to a mother who just needs to talk.
My wife is selfless because of all the other qualities that I have listed. A NICU nurse puts the needs of everyone else above their own.
The next time someone tells you that they are a NICU nurse. Just say thank you or you can say, “So, you save lives, change lives, give selflessly, cry constantly, hurt for others endlessly, pray unceasingly, love no matter what, stand courageously, meet each day with fearlessness, and change diapers.”
To my wife and all the NICU nurses I want to say thank you for all you do.