My husband and I were taken by surprise when our daughter was born early and gasping for breath. They whisked her quickly away to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, a place I had never fathomed we would be. This was the very place where our daughter received the surfactant for her lungs and where nurses helped us learn to hold and bond with our baby during kangaroo care. While the whole experience was beyond stressful, we were extremely grateful to all the medical staff for going beyond just teaching us how to feed our child and wipe their tushie, but also listening when we were despondent, exhausted and overwhelmed. Small acts of kindness by neonatal staff, from doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and lactation consultants, went such a long way to helping us heal as a family and to help us make that transition home.
My story is not unique. So many NICU and bereaved families receive care from neonatal staff that goes above and beyond what is required. They quite literally change the course of history for our families. And it’s for these reasons that Hand to Hold and Mead Johnson Nutrition are excited to announce the Second Annual NICU Heroes Awards is accepting nominations today for neonatal staff who made the biggest difference to your child and your whole family. We are looking for outstanding nurses, physicians, therapists, social workers and lactation consultants who you feel deserve national recognition for their efforts. And new this year, we are giving two awards because giving one was just not enough.
Nominating is easy. Fill out a short form with contact information, your story, hospital name and the name and email of the NICU professional you’d like to nominate. And, we take it from there. Nominations will be accepted today, May 12, 2014 until June 6, 2014 at 5pm CT. (UPDATE: We have extended the nomination period to June 13, 2014 at 5pm CT so that more families may participate!) All nominees will receive a Certificate of Nomination in recognition of their achievement and a copy of the story you share about the difference they made for your child/ren and family. It’s a wonderful way to share your appreciation for their efforts when words hardly seem enough.
A panel of judges, composed of NICU parents and active NICU professionals, will judge the awards and decide on two winners. The two NICU Heroes Award Winners will receive the following:
- A a NICU Hero Award certificate and trophy, presented at the winner’s hospital,
- A $2,500 donation made in their honor to the pediatric healthcare charity of their choice*,
- A one-year subscription to the Hand to Hold NICU Resource Library for the winner’s hospital to help educate families new to the NICU, and
- A presentation of the winners at the National Association of Neonatal Nursing Conference September 10-13 in Phoenix, Arizona.
We are thrilled to give families like yours and mine another way to recognize and honor NICU healthcare professionals for all they do. We can’t wait to read about your amazing nurse, doctor or other NICU professional, and we know they will enjoy hearing about the difference they’ve made.
*Some limitations apply.