‘You care for these babies like they’re your own’: a registered nurse explains why she loves working in the NICU

Carrie Thompson

“You’ll never stop learning in nursing.”

Carrie Thompson recalls hearing that promise during her nursing school days. Now, three years into her first job, she admits it’s true. The registered nurse in Sunnybrook’s neonatal intensive care unit says every day is different as she cares for some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients.

Sunnybrook’s NICU cares for more than 60 micro-premature babies each year who are born earlier than 26 weeks, among the highest number of any unit in North America. Carrie says prospective neonatal nurses shouldn’t find this intimidating. “People hear I care for babies and think, ‘oh my gosh, that’s so intense’. But this unit is such a hidden gem.”

Carrie explains that the combination of challenging intensive care nursing is balanced with a supportive and collaborative team. “People check in on each other, there is always someone who is seeing how you’re doing, and it’s not just fellow nurses. The doctors, the respiratory therapists, the dietitians and other allied health team members… everyone works together and really cares.”

Another important part of the team is the families. Carrie explains that each family touches you in a different way. “You care for these babies like they’re your own. You’re seeing these families at such a difficult time in their lives and it’s a privilege to care for their babies.”

Thinking about her future career path, Carrie admits she can’t imagine being anywhere else. “Working in Sunnybrook’s NICU is such a satisfying job. I leave every shift having an immense sense of comfort knowing I did everything possible for the babies I’m caring for.”

Carrie’s advice for new nursing grads or nurses currently working in another field?

“Take the leap! You will be joining a challenging and supportive environment in Sunnybrook’s NICU.”

Email your resume to NICUcareeropportunities@sunnybrook.ca

Watch: Sunnybrook nurses explain why they love working in the NICU:

About the author


Marie Sanderson

Marie Sanderson is a Senior Communications Advisor at Sunnybrook.

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