JOPLIN, Mo. — September 14th through the 20th is National Neonatal Intensive Care Nurses Week.
For one Four State health care professional, this week holds special meaning.
The first time Katie Butler came to the Freeman Hospital West NICU, it was as a mom.
One of her own children was born premature at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg but had to be taken to the Freeman Hospital West.
She and her family stayed at the Ronald McDonald house of the Four States while her newborn was gaining weight and strength in the nearby NICU.
The experience had a profound affect on her and changed the course of her nursing career.
Katie Butler, Freeman NICU Nurse, said, “They told me when I was here that I would end up being back here as a nurse, and I did, as soon as I, at the end of my postpartum time off, one of the nurses told me that there was a job opening and I applied and got it.”
Two years later, her son is doing well and she’s a member of that same NICU team, all of which were celebrating National NICU Nurse Week.
Her experience here as a parent helps her to relate to other parents going through the same thing.
Emily Whitt, NICU Parent, said, “It’s extremely helpful, that makes it a little less overwhelming and less stressful to know there’s not just scary stories out there and that there’s good outcomes.”
And this set of parents say they and baby Hadley, who was also born premature, couldn’t be in better hands.
“It’s beyond phenomenal, everybody here has been tremendously helpful, very supportive, very personal, it’s been a pretty good experience considering everything.”
“I’ve seen what they can do in one day, it’s amazing, they can go from not breathing well to taking a bottle the next day, they transition so fast, and some days are hard, you go out to your car and cry, but you know you are making a difference and that’s what really matters,” said Butler.