PINEHURST – Pinehurst’s Fair Barn was alive with the sounds of happy kids, moms, dads and grandparents Sunday, Sept. 25, as “graduates” of the Clarke Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital joined their former hospital caregivers for a celebration and reunion.
More than 350 people turned out for the fun-filled event, which included bubbles, sweet treats and popcorn, a photo booth and the chance to closely inspect a Pinehurst Fire Department fire truck. Since the theme of the afternoon’s activities was “Superheroes,” participating children, ranging from babies to teens, also had the chance to visit with three of their favorites: Batman, Wonder Woman and Spiderman.
Participating health care providers took advantage of the opportunity for some important community outreach by educating parents on the dangers of whooping cough and flu as well as appropriate vaccines for those diseases.
"The Clarke NICU Reunion is always eagerly anticipated,” says NICU medical director Nicholas Lynn, M.D. “After having spent many days together after a sick newborn's birth, staff and families have the opportunity to get reacquainted and updated on the patient's progress through childhood and beyond."
NICU clinical director Jane-Claire Dawkins, R.N., agrees.
“This event is a wonderful way for families to show off their little ones (or often not so little anymore) and spend some time catching up with the physicians and nurses who cared for them,” she says. “As NICU staff, we often wonder how “our” babies, as we affectionately refer to them, are doing and about all the milestones they are achieving. This event gives us an opportunity to connect with these families once again so, at the end of the day, we are reminded yet again why we love our job.”
Moore Regional Hospital’s Clarke NICU is a Level III intensive care nursery that provides special care for premature and sick newborns. The 13-bed unit is staffed by specially trained nurses and physicians and is family-centered to ensure that infants requiring more than routine nursery care can still have their families close by.
Now 17-years-old, Kaleen Quick (at left) was once a Clarke NICU baby who was cared for by neonatal nurse practitioner Corinne Cochran, NNP. The two were reunited during the Sept. 25 NICU Reunion at the Fair Barn in Pinehurst.
Michelle Leitheiser, R.N., a registered nurse in the Clarke NICU at Moore Regional Hospital, shared information on whooping cough and flu and appropriate vaccines for each during the NICU Reunion.