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Student nurse exactly where she needs to be

June 16, 2021 | Everyday Moments

A gloved nurse in scrubs smiles and feeds a newborn baby with a bottle

Float day in NICU affirms student nurse’s sense of purpose and life mission

What seemed like a “slow” day to Kiyah Williams, RN, was life-changing to the student nurse under her wing.

Williams, a pediatric nurse at PeaceHealth Sacred Heart Medical Center-RiverBend in Springfield, Oregon, floated with the student to the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) that day.

“I felt bad that she wouldn’t be able to practice her nursing skills there under my supervision so I tried to find things for her to do that helped her feel like she wasn’t just watching,” said Williams.

After the student pointed out that “infants absorb more nutrients if they are held during feedings,” Williams invited her to hold one of the patients as he was fed.

At the end of the shift, Williams checked in. With tears welling up in her eyes, the student said, “I'm so glad we floated down here today.”

She confessed she had been having a hard time in school and had been wondering what she was meant to do. She then said, “today solidified that I am exactly where I need to be and I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing."

Williams, a nurse with PeaceHealth for three and a half years, completely understood. She and the student hugged and shared a good long deep breath.

“I think we’ve all had those days in nursing school when you don't know if this is what you're meant to do because it's so hard and challenges you on so many levels—emotionally, physically and spiritually,” said Williams. “I was glad to share in that moment with her and glad to be reminded that ‘simple’ things, like holding a baby, can be impactful.”