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Rancho Springs Medical Center NICU

Oct. 2, 2019 – Today’s Murrieta adventures continued with a trip to the Rancho Springs Medical Center neonatal intensive care unit. NICU Supervisor Dawn Hesson and NICU Manager Lynnore Johns met up with me in the lobby of the Rancho Springs administration building to welcome me to “The Ranch,” and led me back to a “wine” (sparkling cider) and cheese picnic with a number of NICU team members. However, I had to make sure I got my passport stamped and boarding pass checked before digging in to our feast!

Group picnic time!

While snacking on a delicious spread of cheese, crackers, meats and accoutrements, we sat down in a big group and took the time to get better acquainted. I wish I could have sat next to each person! Once we were sufficiently stuffed, the team presented me with some very thoughtful and handcrafted gifts, a few of which provided further insights into their collective achievements and expertise! Hazel Beldin, a clinical nurse, was the artist behind some beautiful and creative pieces, which she walked me through on the team’s behalf.

First up was a giant postcard that read, “Greetings from The Ranch” and included some facts and stats about the NICU and its staff. For example

  • this was the first Rady Children’s satellite NICU to have volunteer cuddlers;
  • they have received accolades including a 2018 Professional Research Consultants Top Performer Award and a 2019 5-Star Excellence Award;
  • fifty-eight percent of nurses hold certifications; and
  • seventy percent of nurses have credentials at or above BSN, including seven with MSNs, three earning MSNs and one working toward a PhD!

An example of what each Rancho Springs NICU family gets for their little ones, made just for me

The back of the postcard also had a personalized message to me, and explained more about this team’s history and what makes them outstanding. Hazel also made me a poster similar to the ones they give parents of NICU babies, which include a baby’s birthday and weight and length at birth. Clearly, they did their research on me! She noted that these typically include footprints as well, but the logistics of making that happen for my poster would have been a bit trickier than usual! I loved learning that they do that for each of their families — what a heartfelt and special way to express caring. Really above and beyond!

Our visit was drawing to a close, but the team presented me with one more gift: an incredible basket filled to the brim with goodies. I’m well-stocked with items including an embroidered California-themed dish towel, tons of California snacks (can’t wait to try the Temecula Valley olive oil on that delicious-looking bread), stress-relieving hand sanitizer, a cardiologist tree ornament and a sign emblazoned with, “Goal for today: Keep the tiny humans alive.” It’s clear this fantastic team puts their hearts and souls into what they do, and I felt so welcomed. Thanks for a great day at The Ranch!