PINEHURST – Jennifer Bowyer, R.N., remembers the situation well – a “sweet family” facing the possibility that their premature infant might also have a serious genetic disorder.
Jennifer Bowyer, R.N.
A nurse in the Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital for more than five years, Bowyer did her best to reassure the concerned mother, consoling her and assuring her that the NICU physicians and staff would see that her baby and her family got the help they needed.
“You could tell they needed extra emotional support,” Bowyer says, “but they were so easy to give it to, because they were the nicest people.”
Although testing confirmed the suspected diagnosis, the baby’s mother rewarded Bowyer’s kindness and professionalism by nominating her for the national NICU Heroes Award presented by Mead Johnson Nutrition and Hand to Hold, a national NICU family support nonprofit.
Bowyer did not win, but she did get a certificate noting her nomination as well as a copy of the grateful mother’s nominating essay.
“I was so proud that someone took the time to sit down and write something about me,” Bowyer says. “You really feel like you’re doing your job.”
If not for Bowyer’s own NICU experience, her life might have taken a very different direction. She had always wanted to be a stay-at-home wife and mother and had expected that was where she was headed until her son – the younger of her two children – spent time in the Clarke NICU 10 years ago.
Bowyer left the hospital after three weeks with a healthy baby and a new goal for her life.
“I remember that I had some awesome nurses who took time with me,” she says. “I wanted to be that nurse.”
When her son entered kindergarten, Bowyer set out to fulfill her goal by entering the nursing program at Sandhills Community College. She earned her associate degree in nursing and had a job in the NICU at Moore Regional within weeks of graduating.
She is now working on her bachelor’s degree in nursing through Winston-Salem State University’s on-site nursing program at Moore Regional. In her precious “spare time,” she enjoys being with her family: husband Brandon; daughter Juliet, 15; and her own NICU “graduate,” an active 10-year-old also called Brandon.
She expects to spend her entire career in NICU nursing.
“This is where my heart is and what I’m passionate about,” Bowyer says. “I love my job, and I love coming to work every day. I know I’m lucky to have a job I feel that way about. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.”