Sara Anderson

Sara Anderson

Sara Anderson, BSN, RN, CCRN, CWON, IBCLC

Neonatal Intensive Care Unit
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
United States
You give him, and us, every piece of your strength, day in and day out.

You have no idea how much you mean to us, or how you will always hold a very special place in our heart. The love, respect, and admiration that I have for you can compete with no one. In taking care of our baby, in ways, you took care of my husband and me at the same time. Being a brand-new mom in a situation no one prepared me for, I was lost and terrified. I tried my best, I really did. But he was born so sick, and I was so scared. You were one of the first nurses I can remember through all the madness. You stood out from the rest. I love that you are patient with our lack of understanding and how you always answer our one million questions even though I ask them over and over. I love how you answer every single phone call I have, at all hours of the day and tell me each and every update. I love that you are understanding and kind whenever I shut down.

I love that you interpret all the doctor’s fancy medical words. I love how you taught me how to whisper in his ear and hold his hand without moving his breathing tube in the very beginning. I love how you helped heal his skin and always bandaged it up nicely. I love how you taught me the importance of pumping and educated me on why it was so important during this tough time when I just wanted to give up. I love that you helped us capture our first pictures of him with his eyes open.

I love that you taught me how to change his little diapers, how to give him a bath, and how to properly hold him. I love that you understand my sheer excitement over his oxygen settings, taking his temperature, and changing his poopy diaper, how it makes me feel more like his mother. I love that you were real with me. That you comfort me on our big steps back and rejoice with me on our big steps forward. I love that it was you beside me and my husband during our first real breastfeeding session. That is something I will never forget.

When you are not scheduled to care for my son because of other duties, you still check in on us, especially when you hear things are not going well. You bring a sense of peace to me because I trust you. You encourage me to believe he will beat the odds and come home. When you know I need to laugh you tell me funny ridiculous stories about anything and everything. You give him, and us, every piece of your strength, day in and day out. I feel like “thank you” isn’t enough, but it’s all I have to give you. You’re brave and amazing, and you do things no one else can. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You are our hero! 

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Sarah is an extraordinary nurse with extraordinary interpersonal and critical thinking skills. This year Sarah cared for an infant with a very critical airway and complex family needs/issues. Sarah’s diligence at the bedside and expertise with difficult family dynamics made all the difference to the life chances of this child and bonding experiences for the parents. Because of the long-term, critical nature of the patient’s defect, Sarah needed to think out of the box for ways to facilitate bonding/parent interaction and the making of lifelong memories. She did this with great compassion and demonstrated a level of professionalism that is worthy of house wide recognition.

Sarah’s effective communication with the NICU team as well as interdisciplinary team members made the day-to-day care for this child positive and supportive as possible. The parents were very happy with the care, compassion, and expertise that Sarah provide on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis. The parents often asked Sarah to work extra on the days when a “big” procedure or test was being performed as this would provide them with comfort knowing their baby was in the best of hands. 

In addition to exemplary bedside skills, Sarah has also demonstrated skills when mentoring staff and new hires. Sarah is looked upon as an informal leader here in the NICU by her fellow coworkers. Because of her excellent bedside skills, she is often called upon to start peripheral intravenous lines, and troubleshoot complications with lines and tubes. Sarah is a preceptor, relief charge nurse, and delivery nurse for the NICU team and is certified as a neonatal critical care nurse. Sarah also serves as a lactation consultant and has recently taken steps to further her professionalism by successfully passing the lactation board certification exam (IBCLC). Furthermore, Sarah has also taken classes for skin care and has obtained her Wound Ostomy certification (CWON). 

Sarah’s compassion and energy for bedside care is evident. She is constantly striving to go above and beyond not only with her bedside care but also meeting and exceeding the mission and vision of an outstanding Children’s Hospital employee. 

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Sara has a passion for everything she does and she does it well. She serves as a relief charge nurse, preceptor, Certified Lactation Consultant, car seat educator, and Skin Champion. This past year, Sara also received her certification as a Wound Ostomy Nurse to help support and care for our fragile population. Each day brings a new challenge and Sara embraces the opportunity to make a difference. She is not only recognized by her peers as an outstanding nurse but also by the families that she cares for.

As a charge nurse, Sara handles the many daily operations of the unit and manages unexpected situations with grace. She precepts new nurses to the unit and helps guide them in their practice. She is viewed as a resource and strong advocate. As a NICU nurse, Sara is truly invested in her own growth and success. We are honored to have Sara recognized as she is truly deserving of this award.