Congratulations to our 2023 NICU Hero Award Winners!

November 13, 2023

We received more than 55 entries for the 2023 NICU Hero Award Contest, and we’re thrilled to announce our two winners in the NICU Hero category and the NICU Team category! The winners were recognized in our 2023 NICU Mental Health Conference on November 1-2. Read all about the winners below, and watch the video celebrating our team winners!

2023 NICU Hero Winner: Chelsea Samms, BSN, RN, CPST

Hand to Hold NICU Hero Award Contest, Chelsea SammsChelsea Samms, BSN, RN, CPST, is a travel nurse who has had an impact on many families, including nominator Tamiya Griffin.

“As an unplanned NICU mom, Chelsea supported my family and I along our journey,” says Tamiya. “The way she educated, listened, supported, and followed through with me made such an emotional experience seem manageable. Her level of expertise was astounding, and her newborn care information helped us especially when I was finally able to bring my daughter home. I am not sure what I would have done without her.”

Tamiya and Chelsea met at the University of Maryland, College Park. Chelsea recalls talking to Tamiya multiple times each day about her delivery and NICU journey, answering all her questions and giving her advice on advocating for her baby.

“I’ll never forget one day being at work and receiving a panicked call and text from Tamiya: ‘Savannah is not breathing, what do I do?’” Chelsea stayed on the phone with Tamiya until the ambulance arrived. In the meantime, she did a quick assessment of the baby over the phone, instructed her on how to use the bulb syringe to clear the baby’s airway, and provided emotional support while Tamiya took her baby to the ER.

Congratulations to Chelsea! You truly are a NICU Hero, and we are grateful for all the work you do for NICU babies and their families.

2023 NICU Team Winner: Parkland Memorial Hospital NICU, Dallas, Tx

Hand to Hold NICU Hero Award Contest, Parkland Memorial HospitalFrom the day her twin girls were born at 27 weeks, 4 days, Lizbeth S. felt supported and cared for. During their two month stay, Lizbeth describes the team as being always professional, giving her girls the best treatment during their stay. Lizbeth especially wants to thank her primary nurses Kenzie, Paige, Destiny & Ms. George, who made the NICU feel like home, were there for some of their hardest moments, and made the family feel prepared for when their twins came home.

During her postpartum recovery, Lizbeth suffered a hemorrhage while visiting her girls in the NICU. Her recovery prevented her from visiting her babies, but the team continued to reassure her that her babies were doing well. Lizbeth felt peace knowing they were well cared for, and the team never hesitated to give her updates when she would call.

“They taught me so much and made me feel confident that I could care for my babies, even when I thought I couldn’t, and for that I’m very grateful,” said Lisbeth. “Overall, Parkland’s NICU team, from our nurses, our child life specialist, our speech therapists, our primary doctors, our respiratory therapists, and everyone who took care of my babies during their stay were very professional, and this team deserves this award.”

“Winning this award tells me that we’re we are making this an environment where parents feel that their babies are getting the best care and that they feel like they are part of that care team which is extraordinarily important for their success after they take their babies home,” said Darcy Mitchell, RN, Senior Director of Nursing at Parkland Memorial.

Congratulations, Parkland Memorial Hospital NICU team! You are making a positive impact on the families of NICU babies each and every day!

Thank you to everyone who nominated their NICU Hero and NICU Team. Although voting has ended, you can still view entries and read the inspiring stories. We look forward to hearing even more inspiring stories of your NICU Heroes next year!

NICU Heroes podcast, hand to holdListen to the NICU Heroes podcast, a podcast for the NICU professional. The NICU Heroes podcast provides resources for NICU professionals to improve support to NICU and bereaved parents.