One of my favorite parts of being a NICU nurse is the bond I have with the families in my care. The connection between NICU families and nurses runs deep, and I am so honored to be a part of their incredible journey.
Our relationship doesn’t end when those families go home. I have been the lucky recipient of many post-NICU visits, Christmas card updates, and social media friendships that allow me to watch these tiny babies grow into amazing young men and women.
NICU parents feel a strong and lasting kinship with the nurses that cared for their babies in those early, up-and-down days, and they often ask me for ideas on the best way to show their gratitude. Material gifts are never a necessity- a kind word, or heartfelt note of thanks are some of the greatest gifts a nurse can receive! But if you’ve been looking for some easy, inexpensive ways to show your NICU nurses how much you care, you’re in luck!
5 Great Gifts for NICU Nurses from NICU Parents
1. Leave a “note” from your baby
Your nurses love your NICU baby almost as much as you do! Imagine the smile on their faces when they walk into your baby’s room and see, ““Thanks for taking such great care of me today, Janelle, love Alex” or “You make the best baby burrito wraps! Love Tyler”
Most NICU rooms have a whiteboard for keeping track of patient care. Snag a little corner for a fun, playful, or sincere message to brighten your nurse’s day.
2. Everybody loves a little treat!
Cookies and doughnuts are always fun, but not every treat has to be on the sweet side! NICU Nurses often eat on the fly, and they do their best to make healthy choices (most of the time!)
Consider a basket of fresh fruit, or a dinner delivery from a favorite local restaurant. Individual servings of nuts, granola bars, or other protein-packed treats are ALWAYS appreciated! And don’t feel like you have to bring in huge platters of goodies- something as simple as a carafe of coffee or a few bags of popcorn for the staff to share can make your baby’s nurse feel so loved and appreciated!
3. Make them feel like part of the family
You’re already taking lots of pictures, right? Ask to include your nurses in some of your favorite shots! Those photos make great keepsakes for you and they may be as precious to your nurses as they are to your family.
After spending so much time caring for a baby and family in the NICU, nurses love to see their incredible progress! If you’re on social media, feel free to ask your nurses if you can send them a friend request. Many nurses love to keep up with their NICU families through social media, and it’s a great platform to give your favorite nurses a shout out.
4. Sing their praises
When you have a nurse that goes above and beyond, let the world (and their higher-ups) know. Write a note to the NICU supervisor, hospital admins, or even the hospital president to tell them why you love your nurse. Include the details that make her such a standout and slip her a copy as well!
5. Make their days a little more comfortable
Nursing is not for the weak! We’re on our feet for hours, masked constantly, and we wash our hands so often it’s a wonder we still have fingerprints! Little comfort items are some of the best gifts you can give your hard-working nurses.
Consider things like headbands that include mask attachments to save your nurse’s ears. Small items like chapstick, mints, and unscented hand cream are always welcome gifts in the NICU. Other items we appreciate are cute NICU specific items like water bottles and totes with preemie baby messaging.
There are so many ways to show your nurses how much you appreciate them- and never underestimate the power of a simple, “Thank you for taking such wonderful care of my baby.”
If you’ve already left the NICU, don’t fret! You can share your thanks by sending an update on your baby (don’t forget the pictures!) or bringing your little one by for a visit (if visitation policy allows).