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Child Life On Call: Parents of children with an illness or medical condition share their stories with a child life specialist

Jul 5, 2023

Empowering NICU Parents: Kimberly Reyes Shares Her Advocacy Journey

If you're feeling helpless and overwhelmed in your NICU journey, despite trying to be involved and advocate for your baby, then you are not alone! It can be frustrating when your requests and concerns are not heard or acted upon by healthcare providers, and you may feel like you have no control over your baby's care. You may be spending countless hours researching and asking questions, but still feel like you're not making progress. It's important to know that your feelings are valid and that there are ways to increase your involvement and advocacy in your baby's care.

In this episode, you will be able to:

  • Unravel the art of parental advocacy and participation in a NICU setting.
  • Probe into the emotional and psychological toll of having a child with complex medical needs.
  • Discern the value of empathy in delivering exceptional patient-oriented healthcare.
  • Understand the importance of flexibility and adaptability in the practices of healthcare professionals.
  • Unearth innovative techniques to combat burnout and prioritize self-care among healthcare workers.

My special guest today is Kimberly Reyes.

We are excited to introduce Kimberly Reyes, a compassionate mother who channeled her own NICU journey into a mission to inspire and educate other parents. With a background in teaching that spans 15 years, Kimberly has a natural ability to connect with others and share her story in an impactful way. Facing the challenges of having a premature baby during the global Covid-19 pandemic, she has become a resilient advocate for parental involvement in the NICU. Kimberly's firsthand experience of fighting for her child's care and advocating for her family has made her story both relatable and inspiring for other NICU parents.

The key moments in this episode are:

00:00:02 - Introduction,

00:02:42 - Pregnancy Journey,

00:06:55 - NICU Journey,

00:10:43 - Advocating for Yourself and Your Child,

00:14:46 - Conclusion,

00:16:17 - The Importance of Humanity in Medical Care,

00:21:23 - Recognizing Grief in Medical Settings,

00:25:00 - Finding Community and Support in Medical Settings,

00:29:32 - The All the Unexpected Hub,

00:33:23 - Importance of Advocacy,

00:33:53 - Changing World Views,

00:34:07 - Gratitude

Whether you're a parent, healthcare professional, or simply interested in learning more about child life, this podcast is for you.

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Meet the host: 

Katie Taylor is the co-founder and CEO of Child Life On Call, a digital platform designed to provide parents, kids, and the care team with access to child life services tools and resources. She is a certified child life specialist with over 13 years of experience working in various pediatric healthcare settings. Katie is the author of the children's book, and has presented on the topics of child life and entrepreneurship, psychosocial care in the hospital, and supporting caregivers in the NICU setting both nationally and internationally. She is also the host of the Child Life On Call Podcast which features interviews with parents discussing their experiences throughout their child's medical journey. The podcast emphasizes the crucial role of child life services in enabling caregivers both at and beyond the bedside.