As the clinical coordinator of the neonatal intensive care unit, you’ll often find Renae Hester-Golden crying – but her tears are tears of joy.
Renae has contagious positive energy and loves to laugh – often laughing so hard that she winds up crying. She radiates happiness in a fast-paced environment that can often be stressful for patients and nurses. With Renae in charge, though, her people can rest easy: She is a strong leader who holds herself and her team to high standards so they can provide excellent care for their patients.
Renae runs the daily operations of the NICU, coordinating all members of the team with thorough communication each day. She is also a relatively new co-chair of the NICU’s Unit-Based Practice Council (UBPC), a professional development group designed to encourage nurses to improve their skills. In her role as co-chair, Renae makes it a point to inspire other nurses to update their certifications and to work closely with student nurses to teach them about the NICU. The UBPC has seen an increase in participation from nurses in the NICU because of Renae’s inclusive leadership.
“When Renae is on the floor, there’s an overall sense of ‘we’ve got this,’” a team member said.
But sometimes, that feeling slips away when things get a bit overwhelming. When that happens, Renae is there, too.
The NICU has had a large number of cases – and a large number of severe cases – over the past few months. One day, while Renae was participating in a staff Zoom meeting, she noticed the NICU manager repeatedly receiving calls about incoming patients. Without being asked, Renae headed into the unit to help out. Once she arrived and began helping, the unit learned it had to unexpectedly admit a mother who was 23 weeks pregnant – “a critical admission that requires attention to detail and efficient, thorough work.”
Renae took over, using her extensive experience as a NICU nurse to admit the patient seamlessly – showing once again that she is always willing to go the extra step for her patients and her team.
For these reasons and so many more, Renae Hester-Golden is September’s Employee of Excellence.
Pictured: Renae Hester-Golden shares a hug with Brandy Garris, NICU manager.