NICU Patient to NICU Nurse

Elizabeth Carter, RN, with her sister
Elizabeth Carter, RN, with her sister, PICU Child Life Specialist Abigail Rainey

Today as we celebrate National Nurses Week, we welcome to the Riley Blog one of the many nurses who make Riley Hospital for Children an exceptional place for children and families: Elizabeth Carter, RN.

Riley Roots

I have wanted to be a nurse since I was little girl. I am a quadruplet, and my sisters and I spent time in the Riley Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) when we were born, each weighing less than three pounds. I’ve always been intrigued with Riley and the great care that my parents talked about during our NICU stay. My mom and dad have very fond memories of the nurses and doctors that took care of all four of us.

From Riley Kid to Riley Nurse

Today, I love working as a Riley NICU nurse, and my sister, Abigail (right) is a Riley Child Life Specialist.

I am very proud to be a “Riley kid” and it’s an honor to now work at Riley as a registered nurse. I enjoy caring for newborns from birth until they head home. We connect and build relationships with families throughout their sometimes very long NICU stay. I enjoy getting to know my patients, from what calms them down to what they do not enjoy. This helps me take better care of them.

I work with a great team of nurses who go above and beyond for patients and their families.

Unforgettable NICU Moments

There are some very special days as a NICU nurse. This can include holding a “photo shoot” with our patient and playing dress-up, helping a new mom hold her baby for the first time or helping parents hold their twins in their arms once they are big enough to do so. This past year, I took care of a special little girl who was a long-term patient in our NICU.  She transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), and I helped make an “All About Me” sign for her so that the new team of caregivers could get to know her better. This helped my sister Abigail, who works as a Child Life Specialist in the PICU, work with her to meet developmental needs and milestones.

More Than a Paycheck

Riley nurses are advocates for families, and we invest our time and emotions into our days. Our work is not “just for a paycheck.” We truly care. These families are going through what may be the hardest and most trying time of their life, and they still are hopeful, loving and considerate. One family brought me a dozen donuts from my favorite doughnut shop, which we had talked about. This family had spent months in the hospital with their little boy, and they took the time to do something special for me. These Riley families are amazing.

As hard as we work to care for our families, it’s amazing how much they end up teaching us about love, patience and endurance.

Elizabeth Carter, RN, Riley NICU Nurse

Elizabeth is a former Riley Hospital for Children NICU patient who now works as a Riley NICU nurse. She graduated from Purdue University with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing in May, 2012. She enjoys serving others and has been to Haiti twice with her church working in clinics and with mobile teams. In her spare time Elizabeth also enjoys cooking, running and being outside.

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