Thank You NICU
We say thanks to a special group of staff who care for premature and very sick babies and their families.
On any given day in RPA's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and Special Care Nursery, about 40 of the hospital's most vulnerable patients are being cared for.
These tiny babies, born prematurely or suffering a serious illness, need care around the clock.
It's an emotional and at times overwhelming experience for parents and our doctors, nurses, social workers and support staff are there to help them every step of the way.
"Including our families is a really big part of what we try to focus on," RPA neonatologist Dr Mark Greenhalgh said.
"Having a baby in NICU doesn't mean you can't touch your baby and doesn't mean you can't be involved in changing the baby's nappies and bathing the baby.
Our nursing staff are really good at making sure parents are able to be involved in the care of their child," Dr Greenhalgh said.
Many babies receiving care in NICU will be in hospital for an extended period, marking milestones like their 100-day "birthday".
Over that time, special bonds are formed between parents such as Carlie Hoysted (pictured), and the people caring for their children.
Carlie's triplets Scarlett, Haven and Dash weighed a total of 3 kilograms when they arrived 13 weeks early almost two years ago.
"It's not uncommon to be here at night and one of the day staff will call to see how a patient is going," Dr Greenhalgh said.
"Our staff don't switch off at the end of the day. They think about our patients all the time".
Justina Francis gave birth to baby Franklin at just 27 weeks gestation. He was delivered via emergency Caesarean due.
"It was all a very terrifying experience, being our first pregnancy and not knowing what to really expect," Justina said.
"But throughout our journey, we found the nursing staff and paediatric doctors and registrars to be such amazing people; their professionalism and kindness went a very long way."
After spending almost 14 weeks in hospital and growing from what Justina described as "tiny and purple" into a baby with a double chin and "his own fat rolls", Franklin has gone home with his parents.
"I look back at our experience and think how very, very lucky we were to have had Frankie at RPA," Justina said.
"We shed a lot of tears through the journey but also laughed and made many friends along the way.
"Franklin is our miracle baby, only made possible by the care given by staff at RPA's NICU."
To mark Thank U NICU Day on November 30, a morning tea is taking place at RPA. The gesture is a small token of appreciation from parents who have had a baby in the NICU.
Dr Greenhalgh said it's not the type of recognition the team actively seeks.
"The work that our team does with families and patients is amazing and none of them ever ask for recognition.
"This day is about thanking staff who go above and beyond for their patients and their families, so we want to say thank you."