Being discharged from the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) is a monumental moment for many families. UC Davis Children’s Hospital has created a new tradition to mark that milestone: A NICU graduation.
Every baby who leaves the NICU receives a traditional graduation cap, a certificate and the Dr. Seuss book “Oh Baby! Go Baby!” Families also have an opportunity to take pictures with their new graduate using a personalized picture board prop for the occasion.
“After spending what are often stressful and difficult weeks or months in the hospital with their newborn infant, the NICU graduation signifies for the family a celebration of going home. For the care team, it is an opportunity to wish each family farewell,” said Katherine MacDonald, programming coordinator with the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department.
NICU graduations are facilitated by the UC Davis Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy Department, which runs solely on donations from the community. It’s through the generosity of donors that they can continue funding this program.
“We want every family to feel celebrated in these huge milestones and accomplishments,” said certified child life specialist Joanna Davis, who works in the NICU.