DiversityNursing Blog

Micropreemie to kindergartener, thanks to teacher

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Jun 16, 2014 @ 11:56 AM

By Jeffrey S. Solochek

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TRINITY, Fla. (AP) — Evan Wolin sat patiently in his slightly oversized cap and knee-length black gown, waiting his turn.

One by one, the teacher called his classmates to the stage. Then, finally, she read his name.

Evan burst from his seat, sped to the front and grabbed his diploma, a huge smile eclipsing his face. He thrust the paper into the air with an extra arm pump, as his mom, Jessica, tried not to cry while she captured it all on her phone.

He was so ready for kindergarten.

____

Nearly three years ago, when Evan first entered Longleaf Elementary's preschool program for children with developmental delays, few predicted that this day would come.

At 2 1/2 years old, he had barely begun walking, hadn't started talking and coped daily with many medical problems stemming from being born a micropreemie.

"On paper, his medical diagnosis had us thinking, 'Oh, my,' " recalled school speech pathologist Janice Whittaker.

Since he still sometimes used a feeding tube, some of the staff at Longleaf thought Evan might be better suited for a program at Cotee River Elementary, which had dedicated nurses on staff. But his mom, a special-education teacher, and dad, a school administrator, did not want their son in a medical unit.

"I knew developmentally I wanted him in the area school. I knew that he had more in him," Jessica Wolin said. "Although he wasn't speaking, although he wasn't eating, I knew he was very bright. . I always wanted him to be challenged."

Teacher Heather Goldstein, also a neighbor of the Wolins who remembered seeing Evan come home as an infant "with every tube connected to him," committed to making her classroom work for his needs.

"As soon as they told me, I went right online to research everything," she said. "I thought, if he is coming I want to make sure I have everything in place."

Before he arrived, Goldstein reorganized the furniture in her book- and toy-filled classroom to make it easier for Evan to navigate. She continued to learn about his medical demands and prepare for his academic requirements, communicating with his family to keep them informed on daily activities.

Jessica Wolin praised Goldstein's dedication, saying the teacher went above and beyond to make Evan feel at home in school and to help ensure his success. District special-education prekindergarten coordinator Kelli Boles never doubted it.

Goldstein, Boles said, exemplifies what the school district wants from its teachers in the program, which is federally funded and guaranteed to all eligible children with special needs ages 3 to 5. When other educators need training or classroom ideas, Boles sends them to Goldstein.

"She knows where the kids are, what they need to work on," Boles said. "She's the model of what I would like to see for all classrooms."

Goldstein's overriding philosophy is simple: Treat all kids like typical kids, set high expectations and then help them get there. She's taught her special-needs preschoolers to read and write that way, not to mention how to speak and socialize.

____

During a recent class day, Goldstein had Evan working with pattern blocks, where he would match colored plastic shapes to a design on a paper. She had him count yellow hexagons to figure out how many he needed to complete the pattern. Then she turned to another set of pieces.

"What do we call the blue?" she asked. "We used to call them diamonds, but now that you're going to kindergarten we have to call them ..."

"Rom," Evan said, looking up at Goldstein for affirmation.

"Rhombus," she said, completing the word.

"I love rhombus," Evan said cheerfully, placing them on the pattern and then sweeping them all away to start again. "I did it!"

"What do you get to do now?" Goldstein asked.

"Build a tower!" Evan shouted. He started to stack pieces, knock them down and repeat.

____

Goldstein refuses to take full credit for Evan's progress. Parents must participate actively, she said, and the child must be determined, too, in order for them all to find success.

That collaboration shone through for Evan, she said. "He amazes me every year."

His mom feels much the same.

When he was born at 24 weeks weighing 1.5 pounds, some people wondered whether he would even survive. She kept the faith through illnesses and surgeries for short-bowel syndrome, months in the hospital, feeding tubes, therapists.

Would he walk? Would he talk? Would he eat?

Now he races around at breakneck speed, bouncing from his pet hamster to his stash of toy cars, climbing on furniture and jabbering nonstop. He loves bacon and pancakes (and syrup and eggs), and though he's still small for his age, he loves to play with as much abandon as any 5-year-old.

In April, he was named Longleaf's pre-K student of the month.

Program coordinator Boles had nothing but good to say about Evan's progress, which includes his move to a traditional kindergarten class in the fall.

"He is like the poster child of why we do this, because early intervention works," she said, expressing hope that more families would enroll their eligible children in the classes.

Jessica Wolin, meanwhile, looks forward to Evan's next adventure. Sure, she's nervous about kindergarten, just like she was about so many other steps in her son's life.

But "he's done all those things. I want to be surprised by him. I want to see the next surprise."

Source: ksl.com


Topics: health, progress, Preemie, teacher

A Nurse Who Lends an Ear May Ease Anxiety in Moms of Preemies

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Oct 16, 2013 @ 02:48 PM

One-on-one talks with nurses help mothers of premature infants cope with feelings of anxiety, confusion and doubt, a new study reveals.

"Having a prematurely born baby is like a nightmare for the mother," Lisa Segre, an assistant professor in the University of Iowa College of Nursing, said in a university news release. "You're expecting to have a healthy baby, and suddenly you're left wondering whether he or she is going to live."

Segre and a colleague investigated whether women with premature babies would benefit from having a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) nurse sit with them and listen to their concerns and fears.

The study included 23 mothers with premature infants who received an average of five 45-minute one-on-one sessions with a NICU nurse and study co-author Rebecca Siewert.

"The mothers wanted to tell their birth stories," Siewert said in the news release. "They wanted someone to understand what it felt like for their babies to be whisked away from them. They were very emotional."

The sessions reduced depression and anxiety symptoms in the women, and boosted their self-esteem, according to the study published online recently in the Journal of Perinatology.

The findings show that "listening matters" when it comes to helping mothers of premature infants, Segre said.

"These mothers are stressed out, and they need someone to listen to them," she explained.

She and Siewert believe nurses are well-suited for the role.

"Listening is what nurses have done their whole career," Siewert said. "We've always been the ones to listen and try to problem solve. So, I just think it was a wonderful offshoot of what nursing can do. We just need the time to do it."

Source: US News Health

Topics: reduce, anxiety, NICU, Preemie, depression, one-on-one, listening, mother

Dear NICU Nurse

Posted by Alycia Sullivan

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 @ 10:58 AM

Dear NICU Nurse,

To be honest, I never knew you existed. Back when our birth plan included a fat baby, balloons and a two-day celebratory hospital stay, I had never seen you. I had never seen a NICU. Most of the world hasn't. There may have been a brief, "This is the Neonatal floor" whilst drudging by on a hospital tour. But no one really knows what happens behind those alarm-secured, no-window-gazing doors of the NICU. Except me. And you.

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I didn't know that you would be the one to hold and rock my baby when I wasn't there. I didn't know that you would be the one to take care of him the first five months of his life as I sat bedside, watching and wishing that I was you. I didn't know that you would be the one to hand him to me for the first time, three weeks after he was born. That you would know his signals, his faces, and his cries. Sometimes better than me. I didn't know you. I didn't know how intertwined our lives would become.

I know you now. I'll never be able to think of my child's life without thinking of you.

I know that in the NICU, you really run things. That your opinions about my baby's care often dictates the course and direction or treatment as you consult with the neonatologist every day. I know that you don't hesitate to wake a sometimes-sleeping doctor in the nearby call room because my baby's blood gas number is bad. Or because his color is off. Or because he has had four bradys in the last 45 minutes. Or because there's residual brown gunk in his OG tube.

I know now that you are different from other nurses.

I know that, at times, you are assigned to just one baby for 12 hours straight. You are assigned to him because he is the most critically-sick and medically fragile baby in the unit. I've seen you sit by that baby's bedside for your entire shift. Working tirelessly to get him comfortable and stable. Forgoing breaks while you mentally will his numbers to improve. I've seen you cry with his family when he doesn't make it. I've seen you cry alone.

I've seen you, in an instant, come together as a team when chaos ensues. And let's be honest, chaos and NICU are interchangeable words. When the beeper goes off signaling emergency 24-weeker triplets are incoming. When three babies in the same pod are crashing at the same time. When the power goes off and you're working from generators. In those all too often chaotic moments, you know that time is more critical in this unit than any other, and you don't waste it. You bond together instantly as a team, methodically resolving the crisis until the normal NICU rhythm is restored.

Yes. I know you now. I'll never be able to give in return what you have given to me. Thank you for answering my endless questions, even when I had asked them before. Thank you for your skill; you are pretty great at what you do. Thank you for fighting for my baby. Thank you for pretending like it was normal when I handed you a vial of just pumped breast milk. Thank you for agreeing to play Beatles lullabies in my baby's crib when I was gone. Thank you for waking the doctor. Thank you for texting me pictures of my sweet miracle, even when it was against hospital policy. Thank you for crying with me on the day we were discharged.

Most of the world still doesn't know what you do. They can't understand how integral you are to the positive outcomes of these babies who started life so critically ill. But I do. I know you now. I will never forget you. In fact, our story can never be told without mentioning you. So the next time you wave your access card to enter the place that few eyes have seen, know that you are appreciated. I know you, and you are pretty amazing.

Your fan forever,

A NICU mom

This post originally appeared on Preemie Babies 101  

Source: Huffington Post 

Topics: Dear Nicu Nurse, Neonatal Intensive Care, Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, New Mother, NICU, Nicu Nurse, Nicu Nurses, Moms, Preemie, Preemie Babies, Preemies, Premature Babies, Parents News

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