Sunshine Prevails at Second UAMS NICU Reunion
June 7, 2013 | Thunderstorms and flash flood warnings dominated the landscape outdoors, but warm hearts and joyful reunions weren’t dampened indoors at the second annual UAMS Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) reunion.
“It wasn’t that long ago that you could fit my daughter into the palm of your hand,” said Clayton Miley, father of 14-month-old Elizabeth, who spent nearly two months in the UAMS NICU after being born three months premature. “She’s fine now, and it’s hard to think of her as being so small back then. But being here and seeing her caregivers brings back memories of those earlier days and how well she was taken care of.”
Elizabeth Miley was just one of many former UAMS NICU patients who braved the weather to reunite with physicians, nurses and staff at the June 1 event. Last year’s inaugural reunion was such a success that it was moved to the more spacious Scimitar Shrine building this year. Many former patients and their families enjoyed food, games, face painting and live entertainment as they mingled in the larger venue.
“These patients become a part of your life when they’re in your care, and then often times they’re just gone and on with their lives,” said Diane Rushin, R.N., who helped chair this year’s event. “It’s very special to be able to have them back and see how much they’ve changed and touch base with those families again.”
The NICU at UAMS combines advanced technology with trained health care professionals to provide specialized treatment for the tiniest of patients in a patient- and family-centered environment. It averages more than 1,500 admissions each year and has survival rates among the best in the nation.
“Infants can remain in the UAMS NICU anywhere from one day up to six months,” said Becky Sartini, clinical services manager of the NICU. “We form special bonds with our patients and their families and this event helps us reconnect and celebrate.”