Associate Charge Nurse Manager, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU)
back to previous page
I started working at NICU in February 1989.
Before that I was a staff nurse and midwife in Tokoroa.
I worked in neonatal intensive care units in Hong Kong for several years before I moved to New Zealand.
I like working with babies and their families.
It is challenging, rewarding and sometimes sad because you see some babies who are very sick.
As a tertiary hospital we cover the whole Midland region. In average there are between 700 and 800 admissions a year.
Babies come to us from the Delivery Suite or are transported in from anywhere across our catchment area.
The babies might be premature, some may have congenital conditions or problems associated with their birth.
I’ve looked after babies as young as 23 or 24-weeks-old. We provide three levels of care.
Level 3 is for our sickest and most premature babies who require intensive care. They need respiratory support such as Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) or ventilators, multiple infusions, numerous medications and intensive monitoring.
Level 2 is for babies who also require special care, but are not so severe. They still need monitoring and may require oxygen therapy, intravenous fluids, medication and feeding support.
Level 1 is for babies who are growing and feeding, one step away from going home.
Some babies come in from the community needing treatment for jaundice or infection or may require fluid and feeding support due to dehydration.
" My job is to ensure the smooth running of NICU... "
My job is to ensure the smooth running of NICU. I have to think on my feet.
How to make space for a new admission with the necessary equipment, even when the unit is full? Or which baby can be transferred to another nursery to make a space? Which nurse’s workload can be re-assigned to free her up for an admission?
As a senior nurse I support, supervise and mentor nurses. I’m also a resource for junior doctors.
If a baby is admitted to NICU after hours I can help arrange accommodation for the parents at Hilda Ross House, and, if it’s the middle of the night, I’ll get them a sandwich or something.
I try to support parents as best as I can. This is a stressful environment for them. They can feel helpless but have to rely on the health professionals.
We know that some babies will not survive. The hardest thing for me is when there is the withdrawal of care. I do not have children but I try to put myself in the place of the parents and families, and support them.
We have a wonderful team working in NICU; not only the doctors and nurses, but also the housekeepers, health care assistants, technicians, the receptionists and secretary – they all help to provide a quality neonatal service.
Technology and equipment has improved over the years but the noise is the biggest difference.
If you came to a newborn unit in the 80s or early 90s you would hear the noise of five or six ventilators going at the same time, and the blip-blip from the monitors, and it was very noisy.
Now it’s much quieter; this quiet environment is essential for the neurodevelopment of fragile and immature babies.
It is really rewarding when the babies go home and then they come back a few years later, and you see they are doing well.
back to top