Growing up in Amherst, Abby Levy, RN as a little girl of six took a big trip to San Francisco to visit her aunt – a trip that even at that young age had a lasting impression on her and who she was to become in the future.
“She was my favorite aunt….a nurse who just happened to have a baby with an anomaly resulting in him spending a lot of time in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) of the hospital where she and her husband both worked,” said Levy.
“I was really too young to visit my cousin in the NICU, but since my aunt and uncle worked in the hospital, I was able to spend a lot of time with them and the baby. While there, I became enamored with the nurses and all that they did for these very sick babies. I considered them superheroes and knew then that I was going to become a NICU nurse,” she added.
Today, Levy – who earned her bachelor of science in Nursing from New York University – is living her dream as a NICU nurse caring for some of the most vulnerable patients at Baystate Children’s Hospital.
A career in NICU nursing
After graduation, Levy remained in New York City where she worked for a number of years in the NICU at Mt. Sinai.
“I did my few years in the big city. But, my boyfriend, who I grew up with in Amherst and who is now my husband, wasn’t a city guy. So, I moved back home to Amherst to be with him and began working in the NICU at Baystate in 2007,” said Levy.
During National Nurses Week, May 6-12, nurses around the country like Levy, including others at Baystate Health facilities throughout the area, are being honored for the important role they play in delivering the highest level of safe, quality care to their patients. Today’s nearly 3.4 million registered nurses in the United States constitute our nation’s largest health care profession. Nurses practice in diverse roles, such as clinicians, administrators, researchers, educators and policymakers.
“During National Nurses Week, we extend a special thank you to all of our nurses as they continue to deliver a higher state of caring to their patients. These talented registered nurses deserve special recognition for their efforts in delivering compassionate care, while encompassing the principles of safety and quality so ingrained in the nursing profession,” said Nancy Shendell-Falik, RN, MA, president of Baystate Medical Center and senior vice president for Hospital Operations.
Safety and quality of care
Sponsored by the American Nurses Association, National Nurses Week has as its 2016 theme, “Culture of Safety – It starts with You,” recognizing registered nurses as an indispensable component of the safety and quality of care of hospitalized patients.
In addition to bringing her best every day to the babies she cares for, Levy said she especially enjoys working with parents.
“We do a lot of teaching. A parent’s biggest fear is the fear of the unknown, and we help them with what to expect and how to adapt. Our hope is that they can still hear us in their head when it comes time to bring their baby home and care for them on their own,” said the Baystate registered nurse.
While the NICU can be a sad place for some, Levy said recent advances in the medical field results in more babies being saved and “graduating,” as they refer to those babies who go home.
More good than sadness
“There is more good than sadness that comes out of the NICU, and as a nurse you hold onto those good things to help you through what can be a very demanding and emotional, yet highly satisfying profession dealing with these very sick, and small babies,” said Levy.
Baystate Medical Center’s high quality nursing care earned its third designation in a row as a Magnet Hospital for Nursing Excellence – one of only nine hospitals in Massachusetts – a distinction that places the hospital’s nursing staff among the finest in the nation. Nationally, only about 7% of all health care organizations carry this prestigious Magnet designation.
For more information on Baystate Children’s Hospital, visit baystatehealth.org/bch.