December 31, 2019
Passion for neonatal care drives St. Peter's Health NICU nurse
Having a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) is scary, stressful and overwhelming. Few people understand these challenges better than St. Peter’s Health pediatric and NICU nurse Tamara Neidich, RNC who considers delivering family-centered care to NICU babies and their families a passion.
Before moving to Helena nearly four years ago, Tamara worked in a Level 4 NICU in Cincinnati, Ohio. Level 4 NICUs are the highest level NICUs in the United States where highly skilled teams of neonatologists and nurses care for babies as young as 22 weeks gestational age.
St. Peter’s Health’s Women and Children’s Unit includes a Level 2 special care nursery, which provides care to babies who are delivered as young as 34 weeks gestation or have health issues that require more intensive medical care. Prematurity (babies born before 37 weeks), respiratory distress and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are common reasons that babies may need to spend time in the NICU. Typically in Helena, babies spend a few hours to a few days in the NICU.
Nurses like Tamara not only provide high quality medical care, but offer guidance to help families take an active role in each baby’s health. She loves seeing NICU babies progress and thrive.
“NICU babies are some of the strongest and most resilient patients I’ve come across,” Tamara said.
Because NICU babies and their families typically spend more time in the hospital, the nursing staff is able to bond with the baby, parents and entire family. Along with important milestones, like the ability to breathe without oxygen therapy, there are also many wonderful “firsts” for NICU babies and their families to celebrate.
“We have the opportunity to witness a lot of exciting ‘firsts,’ like the first time doing skin to skin, first time a parent changes a diaper or first time feeding the baby,” Tamara said.
For talented, dedicated and compassionate nurses like Tamara, it’s an honor to have the opportunity to make a very hard time a little brighter for families in our community.
“It’s incredibly rewarding to teach parents to appreciate the tiniest milestones and pieces of progress, as well as share how they can be involved in their baby’s care as much as possible.”