Lori Burke

Lori Burke

Lori Burke, RN

NICU
Baptist Health Louisville
Louisville, Kentucky
United States
Lori spoke hope to me when I worried, caring for my heart just as she had done for my child’s.

Our story is a unique one. One day in early October, our foster son was born at Baptist; we, however, had no knowledge that our future child’s life was beginning. Sadly, the next day, this precious boy was abandoned by his biological mother and left with no family to visit him in the NICU while he began the long and difficult process of drug withdrawal. A few weeks later, we heard from social workers that this child, now a foster baby, would be placed in our home once the necessary paperwork was complete. So, for the first 3 1/2 weeks of his life, very difficult days for him, our sweet boy had been alone. Or so we thought.

One afternoon in early November, we timidly but excitedly rang the doorbell to the NICU, prepared to meet our son for the first time. From the moment the door was opened to us, we were overwhelmed with the love and care he had received. We could write story after story about those who loved on him; we will forever be grateful to everyone who played this vital role in his early days. However, there was one nurse who went even further above and beyond her job requirements to care for our special baby.

Lori was the nurse that we will never forget. Lori not only cared for this baby as an expert nurse, Lori was, for all practical purposes, his first mother. Lori rocked him while he cried, prayed for him to heal and to find a family, bought clothes for him, and advocated for him when he desperately needed someone to give him a voice. Lori introduced him to music, singing “you are my sunshine” to him over and over again. Lori told him that he was a good boy, that Jesus loved him, that he would be ok. Lori opened their heart to a little boy who needed to feel what it was like to be loved. His future ability to attach to caregivers will, I believe, be in part a tribute to Lori’s care for him in his first days.

The day that I met Lori was actually my 4th-day visiting our baby. I was nervous, as Lori’s fellow nurses had been telling me how much Lori loved him, that Lori might even be a little jealous of me. However, when I walked into the room that day and saw Lori with my boy, both of our eyes filled with tears and I knew instantly that Lori was on my side.

That morning, and many mornings after, Lori gently handed him to me, helping and encouraging me as I got to know and love our little guy. Of course, Lori had a few interview-like questions for me too, such as did I work outside of the home, and how old would I let him be before taking him to the YMCA childcare! Clearly, Lori loved this boy and wanted nothing but the best for him.

Over the weeks that followed, Lori remained a constant source of help to me. Lori educated me about all that was happening with my baby and answered my questions patiently. Lori spoke hope to me when I worried, caring for my heart just as she had done for my child’s. Today, after 52 days, Lori handed my baby to me for the last time in the NICU and cheered us on as we left to take him home.

Sadly, this child’s story is one that begins full of brokenness and loss. But, because of Lori, his story took a quick and dramatic turn for the better. Thanks to Lori and the other amazing NICU nurses, this little boy’s life is now filled with hope and beauty!

Because this story is about a child in the foster care system, we request that utmost care is taken to maintain confidentiality his story.  Thank you!

NOMINATION FROM PHYSICIAN:

Lori has been a nurse for many years and does an amazing job every day but this is to bring attention to the work she does with a certain population of babies, our Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome babies. These babies require an incredible amount of expertise, patience, and love and Lori brings all of that and more. Some nurses (and physicians) shy away from these babies but Lori embraces them and advocates for them. Most of these babies bring with them very challenging social situations. She gets to know the families (whether birth or foster) and helps them deal with a prolonged stay and often remains involved even after discharge. I can think of no other nurse more deserving of The DAISY Award.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION FROM NURSE MANAGER:

Lori shows compassion and sensitivity to the NAS (Neonatal Abstinence Babies) that are going through drug withdrawal. She ensures comfort measures are initiated, that babies remain in a calm and quiet environment with minimal stimulation, serenity music and that they are medicated timely in order to decrease their withdrawal symptoms. Lori educates and communicates with parents and foster parents on NAS interventions to their level of understanding. Lori keeps the parents and foster parents informed of the progress for each baby. Caring for these babies has become a real mission for her as she wants these babies to have a good outcome, productive life and be cared for in a nurturing environment.