Ten week old Sienna is first to graduate with BA(by) honours
24 September 2019
Although she is too little to understand what the fuss is all about, 10 week old Sienna Hartill is the first intensive care baby at Southend University Hospital to have a very special going home graduation ceremony – complete with mini-graduation cap.
Graduation ceremonies on Neonatal Intensive Care Units are
popular in America, so the Neonatal Unit at Southend wanted to
bring this idea to the UK. It was the idea of Neonatal
Practice Educator, Vicky Thompson.
She said: "The nursing staff build relationships with the babies
and their parents and we wanted to find a way to celebrate the
difficult and long journey that they have been through.
"Leaving the neonatal unit after a long period of time is both
an exciting and apprehensive time for the parents. This is our way
of acknowledging that transition and the impact the families have
made on everyone on the unit."
Sienna's mum and dad, Gemma Elliott and Craig Hartill - both
from Hadleigh - were thrilled to be taking Sienna home, and to be
the first recipients of this special award. Members of the Neonatal
Unit, including nurses and consultants, flanked the threesome and
gave them a round of applause as they left.
Craig said: "It was such an important moment for us as a family,
made even more special by everyone who helped get us here, and
applauded us as we left the Unit. It's been like our second home,
and we can't thank everyone enough for all they have done to get us
to this moment of being able to take Sienna home.
"It's been a real honour for her to be the first premature baby
graduating from Southend, and this is just the first of many
celebrations to come for Sienna."
All babies born before 34 weeks gestation, with a stay of two
weeks or more, will join the neonatal unit's graduation wall of
fame. Like Sienna, they will also take home a graduation cap
signed by all of the nurses to remember their big day.
For the graduation photo, babies also get to wear a cute but
snazzy miniature graduation cap, which was created by Clare Duggan,
from Sew a Little Happiness in Rochford. She kindly donated her
time and materials to make the cap, which is wipeable and meets
infection control standards, as well as being adjustable to fit
The Polaroid camera and film was paid for by money raised by
neonatal nursing staff completing in the Nuclear Race earlier this
year. Here's to the class of 2019!
View a short video here: https://youtu.be/xeBxTbm4nnM