Health Care Hero: This nurse has taken care of the littlest patients for 22 years. Now they’re graduating college

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Name: Josie Dickey

Hometown (where you live now): West Milton

Job title: Staff and Transport Nurse in neonatal intensive care unit

Where do you work: Dayton Children's for 22 years


Describe what your day is like/what you do: As a staff nurse, I have a two-patient assignment consisting of infant's as small as 1 pound. They might be on a ventilator or needing no oxygen at all. I do assessments every two to four hours, including vital signs, medications and feedings. Often the parents aren't there (as I work night shift), so when I'm available to and the infant's condition allows, I can even give some snuggles.

Most of my shifts though, I am the NICU transport nurse. In that position I don’t have an assignment in the unit because we have to be available to leave the hospital within 15 minutes of getting a call from an outlying hospital. The team consists of a transport nurse, a respiratory therapist and a driver/paramedic. We are called when an outlying hospital is expecting a premature infant and they need us at the delivery, or an infant is born sick and needs more help that they can provide. We stabilize the infant and transport them back to Dayton Children’s. We routinely transport infants from the entire region (up to two hours away) as well as Miami Valley and Kettering Hospitals if the infant needs surgery or needs to see a specialist.

Health Care Hero: ‘I became a nurse to make a difference’

What inspired you to get into health care? I always thought that I wanted to be a nurse, but I knew the NICU was where I wanted to work when I was in the sixth grade. I visited my pastor and his wife in the Toledo NICU when they had twins, and I was amazed at what I saw there.

What's a memorable experience you've had in health care? Anytime we are able to see a family get to go home after being here months on end is such a wonderful feeling. You truly get to be a part of the family during that time. There are still babies I remember from when I started 22 years ago, and they are graduating college now and starting their own families. It's wonderful to know I had a small part in making that happen. The families are wonderful about keeping us updated and sending us pictures as the babies we have taken care of hit milestones and continue to succeed in life.

Health Care Hero: ‘I really love my job’

What do you want readers to know about your job right now: We have been fortunate to not be severely affected by COVID-19 in the NICU. We have had no positive patients in the NICU, but our daily routines have definitely been different with having to wear more personal protective equipment, and it's a struggle for the parents having to restrict who can be allowed to visit. Until this week, only one parent could be at the bedside at a time. Through it all though, I can't imagine working anywhere else. I love getting to know the families, as well as taking care of the babies and COVID is not going to change the care we give them.

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