Haley Nagle

It’s about giving people firsts

As a former NICU baby, Haley works with every parent to help them experience everything they can with their NICU babies as she knows the outlook can change in an instant.

portrait of Haley Naglel, nurse at UC Davis Health


I think that every patient that I care for shapes the way that I nurse and you learn something from every experience.

I would say the thing that kind of hit me the hardest, I guess you could say, was my first death. And I delivered that baby. I didn't deliver it, but I was in the room and I was that nurse that took the baby, this tiny baby, out of the doctor's hands. And you work with the medical team and you do everything that you can to give this little one pound baby a life. And when they went through care on that baby and I felt very responsible, I guess you could say, and I went from looking at these parents and the joy of hearing their baby cry for the first time to the sadness and the cries of losing their baby and holding it for the last time.

And it really made me realize the impact of this job on people and their families and how you have to be so aware of everything that you say and you do and every touch and really the little things that you do for these families that has such a lasting impact.

I try really hard to give these parents their firsts. So even if it's a really small, sick baby, I would never believe just seeing having them change a diaper for the first time... And you teach them how to do that. And it's their first time. And then you can write a goal on the white board, first diaper change, and cross it off. It's amazing.

And you have to live every nursing shift day-by-day and not ever taking it for granted, because you really don't know what's going to happen.