When I think about the NICU, I immediately think about Julie. She has been a leading member of SPT and has been part of many successful tests of change projects based on evidence-based practice. She shows passion for her job after working all these years and genuinely cares for patients and team members. She is always striving for excellence within the unit. She is approachable and listens to any questions/concerns coming from staff and patients. She seems to always know the answers. She is so willing to teach.
Julie Cox is one of a kind and one role model that I will never forget. Julie has an engaging, powerful, shining energy that pours through her work every single day. I have never seen Julie in a negative light. If she is having a hard day, she always finds a positive side to the hardship.
Julie is our NICU SPT chair and she has taken this role far beyond the standard expectations. Julie puts a strong focus on engagement and ensuring that all of our NICU staff feel heard. She gives them the voice they need to carry out needs of the unit but also to empower our staff to work as a team.
Each SPT meeting, Julie carefully plans, presents, and crafts a special gift with an object lesson. She engages each individual in SPT. She presents her object lesson and then presents a gift to connect the lesson to the work we do in the NICU. When she speaks during SPT, all ears and eyes are on her. One example of an object lesson Julie gave at our last SPT meeting:
What does sleep deprivation do to your brain? Sleep deprivation over a long period of time can decrease brain function and cause memory loss, confusion as well as affects the body. We learned that getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night keeps the brain and body healthy. When you sleep the brain empties the “trash” by eliminating non-necessary particle from the brain thus keeping us thinking clearly. Some people have a mutated gene that allows the body to run efficiently on 4-5 hours of sleep but that is rare.
Everyone was given brain food and relaxation tea and coloring pages to help relax the mind for sleep. Julie does all of this on her own and does not want the unit to contribute to her gifts. She continues to say this is her “give back” to the staff for the amazing contribution they give to our NICU and our families.
Julie also has continued to facilitate the positive board in the NICU. The positive board is in the break room. Staff place Kudos, You Matter cards, and You Make a Difference notes on the board throughout the month. Julie collects all these positive statements and draws a name. Once she draws the staff member's name, she congratulates them through email and huddle. She then gives the staff member a huge basket full of goodies to enjoy. Julie again does all of this on her own and refuses to take compensation from the unit funds.
Julie has told her management team that she feels so good when she creates these gifts for staff and it keeps her own engagement high by helping staff remain engaged on the team. Julie is an amazing role model for our NICU staff. She practices what she preaches, always keeping a positive attitude and knowing that she can influence others by her actions. She is upbeat, optimistic and keeps the team moving forward. The NICU at times can create negativity and sadness, Julie has found a way to bring staff out of those moments and has found creative solutions to keep our staff engagement high!