There are many reasons why people choose to become a nurse. For ProMedica Toledo Children’s Hospital’s Amanda Waite, you could say her desire began at birth. This spring, Amanda began working as a registered nurse in the hospital’s newborn intensive care unit (NICU) – a place she and her family came to know very well.
Amanda, who was born early term, spent the first two weeks of her life in the Toledo NICU. “Due dates weren’t as accurate back then as they are now,” she explains. “I arrived on my scheduled due date, but it turned out I was actually between two and three weeks early.”
Because of her early birth, Amanda’s lungs were not fully developed. She had to remain in the hospital for a short time until she could breathe on her own.
When Amanda grew older, the story of her birth and time in the NICU motivated her to look into a career as a NICU nurse. That motivation was furthered even more after high school when she began working part-time with a retired neonatologist. “He shared with me his stories of taking care of little sick babies, and it just reaffirmed what I wanted to do,” says Amanda. Soon after, she enrolled in nursing school.
However, Amanda nearly changed her mind about her career when her twin daughters Hannah and Jordan were born. The girls, who were born at 32 weeks or eight weeks premature, had several health issues. They spent 30 days in the Toledo Children’s Hospital NICU. That time was extremely stressful and overwhelming for Amanda and her family. All she could think about was getting out of the NICU and bringing her daughters home.
Over time, as her daughters grew and improved at home, Amanda realized that the NICU was where she was meant to be. “Once the worries of life in the NICU began to fade and my girls were doing all of the things [healthy] babies do, I was able to see that it was really what I wanted to do,” explains Amanda.
Today, Amanda is back in the NICU. But this time, she is working alongside some of the nurses who once cared for her children. She uses her experience as a NICU patient and mother to help the families of the little ones she cares for. “I think I can really empathize with parents,” says Amanda. “I know where they’re coming from, and am able to help comfort them.”