Leeds Teaching Hospitals People

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Natalie Dawson

Neonatal Sister

Our patients come in many shapes and sizes, at every stage of life each requiring specialised care and different treatments. At the Leeds Children's Hospital, our Neonatal unit cares for our youngest patients: new born babies who are ill or have required surgery.

"I love looking after babies on the ward. It gives me an enormous sense of job satisfaction to help the tiny infants get better following their illnesses or surgeries," said Natalie. "For many of the little ones, their time on the ward is a journey, which hopefully ends with them leaving happily and healthily."

"Given the nature of the patients we care for, it's really important to build relationships with parents so we can keep them updated on their child's care. For many the incubator can seem like a huge barrier between them and their baby, so we try to support them as much as possible," she said. "There's nothing better than seeing mum and dad have first cuddles with baby, especially for those babies who have to spend their first few days and weeks in an incubator."

"Sadly, not every patient on our ward survives, despite our efforts, that's why I am trained to help parents with bereavement. As I'm sure you can imagine, this is not an easy job but at those most sensitive moments, it's really important that I can be there to support mums and dads in their grief," Natalie explained. "Even in these circumstances babies are treated with the care and dignity that any other patient would receive and we have a special area for people to spend time with their infants. Fortunately, many of our babies do go home following surgery or time developing in incubators."

"As a Sister on the ward, I am also responsible for looking after an area on the unit and am sometimes responsible for the whole ward. In my role it's really important to help other staff and support them and by doing so help to avoid problems and make sure we can provide the very best possible care," said Natalie. "The team on L43 are wonderful and we all work together for the benefit of our patients and that of their parents and families during tough times."

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