Portrait of Emilie

on 2020/01/09

Emilie, Neonatal nurse at the maternity unit in Hôpital privé de la Seine-Saint-Denis (France).
Why did you choose this profession ?

Since I was a child, I have had a deep desire to work in a caring profession, with a view to taking care of others. None of my family worked in the Health sector, however. During adolescence, when receiving career guidance, I went to a jobs fair, where I decided to become a midwife. After failing the entrance exam twice, I went to nursing school out of spite, to some extent. But I very quickly changed my mind and became passionate about this job, which involves a diverse range of tasks. I began my career by working in an adult emergency department for six years, which was exciting. I have now returned to my first love, perinatal care.

What do you most like about your job/your daily life ?

Taking care of others is always my motivation for my job, which means I go to work happily each morning. I take care of newborns, for sure, but also their parents. In neonatology, we deal with complicated births, illness, prematurity etc., which often tend to keep parents away from their child. Above all, my role involves taking care of the parental bond, supporting the parents, helping them by putting them at the centre of the care pathway when, too often, they feel cut off from the relationship with their baby, under close medical supervision. The thing I like most in the department is the combination of technical treatment of newborns and the importance of creating, insofar as possible, a peaceful environment, conducive to exchanges with parents. For me, this work with families, in which parents take on the role of care partners, is essential and a driving force in my job; it is key for smooth development in newborns and improved parental attachment. Every birth is a new adventure with the newborn and his/her family.

Do you have a passion ?

Yes, breastfeeding. Or, rather, supporting women who want to breastfeed their child. This is not always a simple process in today’s society, where parents often tend to intellectualize everything, and where women often put a lot of pressure on themselves, even though they are in a vulnerable situation, and often alone with their concerns. New parents are themselves sometimes distant from their own families. Mothers especially need to be given back their self-confidence. They need kindness, and answers based on scientific data. They need time to learn and experience their baby. Especially as we sometimes need to wait several weeks to put an extremely preterm baby on his/her mother’s breast.

I’m also looking forward to taking a “lactation consultant” course, which will allow me to develop this role, in addition to my other tasks. I also want to take this opportunity to underline the importance of regular training for the duration of a nursing career. Our profession is continually evolving. We must constantly adapt to these changes, and question our practices.

Do your colleagues have a nickname for you ?

When I worked in the Emergency Department, they called me the “social nurse” (in English). Apparently, I’m quite patient, and have an ability to listen which means I can sometimes ease patients’ concerns. So I’m in my element in my job, and I’m very happy doing it.