Like A Sister

Sometimes we get notes from the families we serve. They may come as messages at the end of returned satisfaction surveys or our quality review calls. Sometimes they arrive in the mail or are posted on our Facebook page.   We never expect them, but whenever we hear back from moms, dads, and grandparents, we lean into the words and take in the precious sentiments of our families. “I love working with my community health worker because I learn so much and she makes me feel like I can do anything. Anna* is like a sister. I can tell her things and she just gets it.   And she says things to me how I can hear them, sometimes hard things. Cheers for me but tells me just the way it is.” Like a sister. This pulls up all sorts of images. I am lucky enough to have a sister and we freak people out with our ability to say the same things at the same time. We finish each other’s sentences.   We operate within a mix of raw honesty and unspoken connection.   Sometimes blunt.   Sometimes gentle.   Always real. Over 10 years ago, we added a new feature to our home visitation services: community health workers. Originally designed to extend the work of the nurse and to be able to help with time-consuming issues, they have become so much more. We currently have five women on our staff who serve as CHWs, three of them bilingual who can also provide translation.   I know you will enjoy reading about their work in this newsletter. Like a sister. Like a wise, caring, resourceful...

Jimmy and the pickles

I sat on the sofa next to the 8-year-old big brother, planning to keep him company while our nurse hoisted the baby and his body cast onto the scale.   School was out for the year and this was Jimmy’s first time to join in the home visit as he was home now for the summer.   It was steamy in the mobile home, and his brow was as damp as the condensation on the large jar in his lap. Jimmy was dipping his hands in and out of the jar, skimming through the green juice to capture the pickles and then launching them into his mouth. “Hey there, you must really like pickles!” It seemed a reasonable way to start a conversation. “I guess.”  Eyes down. He crunched a few more. As if on cue to escape my interest, the doorbell rang and Jimmy leaped to his feet to greet his grandma, hugged her and clasped the loaf of white bread that had been in her hands. He waved me into the kitchen and I watched while he carefully laid the sliced pickles onto a square of bread and made a lid with another. “Look, now I made a sandwich!” He bit into the pickle sandwich and then gobbled hungrily, closing his eyes for the last few bites.   I was not prepared for the next image, the one where Jimmy opened the refrigerator door and set the jar down on a completely empty shelf.   There was nothing else in the fridge, except for a few condiments in the door. The whiteness of the interior was almost blinding. “I’ll make one...

Nurses and Inspiration

“The May issue is here, Melinda, I saved it for you!” There they were, nursing journals scattered on the coffee table at grandma’s house. Not many first graders learn to read from the American Journal of Nursing, but I had that privilege because my maternal grandmother was a registered nurse.   My earliest memories include cuddling on the couch with a journal. I can still picture her putting on her freshly polished white shoes over her white stockings that blended with her white dress, and off she would go to the hospital.   I could not have known that all these years later those experiences would form the foundation of my life’s work. National Nurses Week is celebrated in May.   Healthcare organizations around the country recognize the contributions and compassion of our nation’s nurses who shoulder much of the effort needed to keep all of us healthy.   Please thank a nurse in your life this month! At Nurses for Newborns, our nurses are the best of the best—caring, brave, and dedicated beyond what anyone might imagine. Their stories are dramatic: pulling a family from a burning trailer, calling an ambulance for a very ill mother, restoring a heartbeat with CPR on a lifeless infant on a living room floor. And their stories are everyday: reassuring young parents, teaching how to soothe a crying baby, supporting a breastfeeding mother and so much more. If inspiration can come from a journal on a coffee table, how much more of a role model is a nurse who demonstrates loving and skilled care of babies and parents.   We never know when a nurse will inspire...

Trivia Night 2016

Nurses for Newborns is hosting it’s 9th annual Trivia Night Fundraiser at Villa Duchesne Oak Hill School on January 9th, 2016. For more details and to register, click the button below. Come on out and have some fun! WHERE: Villa Duchesne Oak Hill School 801 South Spoede Rd. St. Louis, MO 63131 Click Here to Register! WHEN: Saturday, January 9th 2016 Doors open at 6pm Trivia begins at 6:30!...

2016 Holiday Greeting Cards

Purchase Your Holiday Cards The wait is over! Nurses for Newborns’ Holiday Cards are now available for purchase! This year we encouraged children from around the area to submit drawings for our card’s design. This year’s card was crafted by Caroline as a celebration of diversity and the spirit of the holiday season. All proceeds from our Holiday Card purchases go directly to Nurses for Newborns to continue strengthening our outreach and to provide invaluable resources to fragile babies, their mothers and their families all across the St. Louis area.   Click the button below to purchase yours today! Purchase Your Holiday...