A group of nurses from Mercy’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) met Friday to put the finishing touches on dozens of “superhero” capes that will be given to former patients of the NICU during a reunion May 7.
Nursing Manager Jeri Power said it’s the fifth year for the NICU reunion and 150 families are expected.
“It’s super fun for the kids and for us. We get as much out of it as the families do,” she said.
Nurses want to track progress of the children who they cared for during their stays in NICU. Families may spend months at their child’s side, so the nurses and families bond and often keep in touch, Power said.
“They have a rough start, but they are beautiful children,” she said.
Most of the children attending the reunion this year are 4 to 8 years old, but there are also babies and older children, Power said. The event grows each year.
The reunions always have a theme and this year’s is superheros. About 10 volunteers have worked for a month assembling the felt capes that the nurses decorated Friday. The volunteers expect to have 200 capes completed for the reunion, said volunteer Rona Stufflebeam of Bentonville, a Mercy volunteer for 16 years.
The reunion is planned 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 7 on the terrace near the lobby in the Rogers hospital.
Mercy, named one of the top five large U.S. health systems in 2017 by Truven, an IBM Watson Health company, serves millions annually. Mercy includes 44 acute care and specialty (heart, children’s, orthopedic and rehab) hospitals, more than 700 physician practices and outpatient facilities, 40,000 co-workers and more than 2,000 Mercy Clinic physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.