Friday Fast Five: Meet gretchen Lawhon

Each month we interview individuals associated with the Australasian NIDCAP Training Centre and the broader NIDCAP Federation International (NFI) community, asking them five questions that explore their association with our unit and NIDCAP. This month, meet gretchen Lawhon Clinical Nurse Scientist, NIDCAP Master Trainer and member of the NFI Board of Directors.

How long have you been associated with the NIDCAP Federation International (NFI)? I have been involved with the NIDCAP Federation International since it was incorporated in 2000. Prior to that I was involved with the NIDCAP work since it first began in 1982 when I was the first person trained by Heidelise Als, PhD.

What is your role in the NIDCAP international community? Currently I am a NIDCAP Master Trainer affiliated with the West Coast NIDCAP and APIB Training Centre in the United States and I am a member of the NFI Board of Directors. I am actively involved in NIDCAP Training in both Israel and Japan.

What has been the most meaningful learning for you during your NIDCAP journey? I would say that my most meaningful lesson learned is that of relationship based caring which I have completely integrated both in my personal and professional life.

In your opinion how does NIDCAP potentially benefit newborns, families and staff? In my opinion the most powerful benefit of NIDCAP for newborns, families and staff is the ability to appreciate the lived experience of another. When we are able to recognize each tiny infant as a complex human being and form a relationship with him/her within the context of his/her family as well as the staff caring for them 24 hours a day that informs our care in immeasurable ways to facilitate maturation and development in each of us.

What do you hope NIDCAP training centres achieve now and in the future? My hope is that NIDCAP Training Centres will have as powerful influence as possible on implementation of humane care for all infants, families and staff. If every newborn intensive care professional understood and was dedicated to improving the everyday life of others then it would change every aspect of clinical care for the better.