|She’s Right Back Where She Started|
Morgan Martell wanted to be a nurse at All Children's Hospital for as long as she can remember. Her wish became a reality this past January when she was hired as an RNII in the ACH Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).
"This is essentially my dream job," says Morgan. "I really wanted to work with babies and I wanted to work at All Children's. I'm loving every minute of it. It's exactly what I wanted to do."
No one is more thrilled about Morgan's new career than her grandmother, Marjorie Tomlin. Marjorie has served as a volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House for over 10 years.
Becoming an ACH Nurse is just the latest chapter in her life that has once again crossed paths with All Children's Hospital.
Morgan, you see, was born eight weeks early on Dec. 5, 1988, suffering from Respiratory Distress Syndrome (RDS). "I was sent immediately to All Children's and spent the first three months of my life in the NICU," she said. "All Children's saved my life."
Although she returned to ACH once for some minor surgery when she was ten months old, Morgan had a very healthy childhood. She suffered no physical or cognitive limitations due to her premature birth.
While she was in high school, Morgan ended up back at All Children's. But, this time it had nothing to do with her health. She served as a teen volunteer in the NICU and helped rock babies. She also participated in the hospital's Medical Explorer program where she learned more about the hospital and medical careers. Because of this experience, her passion to become a nurse got even stronger.
After graduating from Northside Christian School, Morgan headed off to the University of South Florida where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing (BSN).
Morgan admits that even though she doesn't remember her own experience as a NICU baby, she can often offer positive encouragement to new moms and dads. "Parents who have not had a premie before are very concerned about the possible long-term health effects that may impact their child. Sometimes I will tell them " If it makes you feel any better, I was a 28 weeker."
"My parents told me stories about their experiences when I was a patient in the NICU," she said. "They told me how the doctors and nurses answered all their questions and gave them the reassurance that I was going to be OK. I think hearing those stories helps me relate better to our NICU families."
When Morgan told her mom and dad that she had applied for a job at All Children's, they were thrilled and couldn't wait to see the new NICU. They were amazed how much things have changed since she was born.
Recently, Morgan had to console a tearful mom who thought her baby might die.
"I tried to convince her that her baby was stable, but she was not buying it. So, I decided to share my story with her in hopes of making her feel better. I told her that I'm living proof you can leave the NICU and do OK. I think hearing that from me made her feel better."
While she is grateful for her personal NICU experience, Morgan said she doesn't tell her story to everyone. If she feels a family will benefit from hearing about her outcome as a NICU graduate, then she shares.
"When I interviewed Morgan for a position in our NICU, she shared her story with me," said Cindy Driscoll RN, BSN, MS, Director of the NICU. "She showed so much desire about wanting to be a NICU Nurse. I really felt this would be an excellent fit for her. Morgan continues to demonstrate compassion and enthusiasm and is very family centered in her care. I think much of that is related to her past experience."
Once parents hear Morgan's story they often open up and have lots of questions. They want to know how she did in school and if she has any long-term limitations. She said parents often feel more reassured seeing me as an example of how things will turn out, because all they see now are a lot of wires, tubes and equipment surrounded their baby.
Morgan admits that helping give families peace of mind is what makes her feel the best at the end of her shift.