Jacqueline Ashley
May 2017
Tucson Medical Center
United States




Last year the NICU opened up a specialized part of the unit to help babies born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome (NAS). This special unit has a core group of staff members that spend most of their shifts working with this fragile group of patients and their family members. Infants with NAS go through withdrawal symptoms that are similar to adults; tremors, vomiting, irritability, just to name a few, yet they cannot verbalize how they are feeling. These infants are often hospitalized for 1-3 months and tend to be very fussy and inconsolable. The goal of the specialized unit is to give these babies a stronger start in their first days.

The nurses in the NAS room provide calm, focused, comforting care to these infants but also provide heartfelt compassion and care without judgment to their family members. The nurses of the NAS room are also supporting parents through the NICU journey in a different way, they are helping them be strong, quit their addiction, manage the challenges of parenthood and ultimately aim to keep families together. All of the nurses in the NAS room are special but Jacqueline Ashley stands out. She has a heart that she wears on her sleeve. You can sense the special bond she shares with the families she takes care of and you know it is unique and genuine. Parents value her; they listen to her with trust and respect. One family said, "It made me feel better when I knew our baby had you on her side; you are definitely in the right place and the babies need you." Another family said upon discharge from the NICU, "Today is not good-bye, it's a see ya later. You will most definitely be a part of my baby boy's life. You are the main reason he is here with me today, you helped him grow." Another mom writes, "I will be forever grateful for the amazing care you showed my son and all the helpful things you have taught me. This was an extremely hard and demanding ordeal but you all made it so much better with your encouraging words and friendly and positive attitude. We couldn't have gotten through this without you."

The care Jacqueline provides is the of family-centered care and she is the pinnacle of TMC's values of compassion, dedication, integrity, and community. She goes above and beyond to give these families superior care. Even on the roughest days in the NAS room, this nurse has come out of there with a smile on her face, she truly loves what she does and it shows. She is an advocate for not only the patients but for their parents as well. She works closely with our providers and social workers to ensure that the patients and their families are getting all they need. She is supportive and compassionate but is also not afraid to show the tough love that some of these parents need. It takes a very special person to care for not only these fragile infants but for their family members. This nurse is the model caregiver that our NICU and TMC are so lucky to have!