Tripler NICU graduates join annual reunion

| November 20, 2015 | 0 Comments
•Tripler staff and former NICU patients and their families attend the sixth annual Tripler NICU reunion celebration in Honolulu recently. Everyone enjoyed the Halloween themed event and had a chance to reconnect, share their accomplishments and show off their Halloween costumes.

Tripler staff and former NICU patients and their families attend the sixth annual Tripler NICU reunion celebration in Honolulu recently. Everyone enjoyed the Halloween themed event and had a chance to reconnect, share their accomplishments and show off their Halloween costumes. (Photo from Tripler Army Medical Center)

Emily T. Yeh
Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs
HONOLULU — Since 2009, Tripler Army Medical Center’s (TAMC) Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) has hosted a reunion for families who have “graduated” from the TAMC NICU.

These young graduates are former Tripler NICU patients who began their lives in the NICU under the care of Tripler’s dedicated staff.

Milestone recognition
Having a newborn baby should be a happy and joyful milestone for a family, but there are times when medical issues become a priority for a newborn. These times can take away some joy until the newborn is discharged from the NICU.

The NICU reunions started as a way for the Tripler NICU staff to honor and keep in contact with the families of former patients.

“One of our staff sticks with a patient’s family during a newborn’s entire stay in the NICU,” said Cassandra Corbett, NICU staff nurse and reunion co-coordinator. “We experience all the highs and lows with the family during their stay, and when we see our former patients again at the annual reunion, this is when we know we made a difference.”

It is at the reunion when many former NICU families once again get to see the providers who helped them through their time in the NICU. It is a time to celebrate and see how much the children have grown, a time for parents to highlight their child’s accomplishments.

The children and their families are extended a lifetime invitation to the annual NICU graduation.

“It is so rewarding to see the children grow and thrive,” said Corbett, with great pride. “Children and their families dress up for the Halloween-themed event. There is a costume parade, contest with prizes, games, a fun haunted house and, of course, lots of delicious food.”

The NICU graduation is a huge event for the families and the Tripler NICU staff. Families even make Oahu their vacation destination, so they can attend the reunions. There are several families that return to Hawaii as a duty station years later.

In previous years, a 7-year old graduate attended. The reunion was standing room only, with over 200 people in attendance.

The reunion celebration includes NICU Soldiers and civilians who are dedicated doctors, nurses, therapists, social workers and consultants who work in the NICU to heal patients, so they can go home to their family.

Tripler’s NICU staff members expressed pride to provide quality patient services to current and former patients. They embraced the opportunity to make someone’s life better and happier.

The reunions are a time to see the difference they have made in the life of one person. It is a true celebration of life.

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Category: Community, Health

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