Sara Rieman
December 2017
Newborn ICU
University of Virginia Health System
United States




Sara is a highly skilled nurse who often takes care of the sickest babies in the unit. A couple of weeks ago, she admitted and over the next week, cared for a very critically ill baby. This baby's parents were told that they should think about redirecting their baby's care to comfort care. The parents were understandably upset and wanting to give their baby more time on earth. Sara portrayed not just professionalism, but also holistic and family-centered care to this family. She sat for hours with them at the bedside, caring for their baby and listening to them, as they just needed to talk about him, talk about their hopes and dreams for him and grab on to any hope they might have. Sara could have stepped away from the bedside or really pushed comfort care. Instead, she listened and built a rapport with the family. As the baby's conditioned worsened, the decision was made with the family to redirect to comfort care. Because Sara had such a close relationship built on trust, with the family, they asked to wait until she came on shift, so that she could be there to support them as they lived through any parent's worst nightmare, of losing their child. Sara came in early so that she could be there for them.
Time and again, I've seen Sara selflessly give to the babies and their families. I've been the parent on the other side, and nurses like Sara are invaluable. These parents will never forget Sara and how she made the worst situation, just a little bit easier. She is the whole package and more. She is highly skilled and has fantastic clinical judgment, she is compassionate and often goes beyond above and beyond to support and advocate for her patients. It is an honor to work alongside her.