Thursday, April 16, 2009

Benefits of Keeping a NICU Journal or NICU Diary

Oprah said many years ago about keeping a journal that:

Journaling is someone to talk to

when there is no one to talk to.

There are many benefits for NICU Parents to keeping an account of their time in the NICU as a Journal or a daily diary.

NICU Staff, Nurses and Social Workers may encourage parents to keep a daily account of their NICU adventures as a way of coping with the NICU.

Keeping a NICU Journal allows parents to monitor the changes that are occurring with their NICU newborn which may be easier to see when reviewed over time.

To paraphrase a quote by musician John Mayall,
Journals are markers to whatever is going on in your life, at a particular moment.
They are the memories and recollections...and the stories that were going on at the time.

What to Include in a NICU Journal
There are several different NICU Journals that have been created for NICU Parents either to purchase or to download for free.

Things to include in a NICU Journal information about your baby's.

  • Age
  • Weight
  • Types of Monitors, IV's, Lines
  • Breathing Help
  • Method of feeding
  • Medications
  • Tests and Procedures
  • Ways of Interacting
  • Nurses and NICU Staff
  • Visitors
  • Questions to Ask
  • Other Thoughts and Feelings
Initially it may be enough to just be including the medical information that you can understand and the questions that you might want to ask. In time, you might include how you are feeling and what you are thinking about the NICU experience.

Benefits of Keeping a NICU Journal
The benefits of keeping a journal also apply to keeping a NICU Journal.
  • Journaling can be an effective way for the journal writer to process stressful, traumatic or life-changing events.
  • Keeping a journal can have a positive impact the journal writer.
  • Journaling serves as a catalyst for self-discovery and self-reflection.
  • Journal writing can also lessen symptoms and improve physical and mental health.
Other benefits found in Telling the Story also apply to NICU Parents journaling their NICU Experience and Telling their NICU story:
  1. Writing our stories can help in explaining the world and making sense of the insensible.
  2. Storytelling has been used for centuries as a beneficial way for grieving people to cope with loss.
  3. For many patients and parents telling their story is what helps them to cope with or heal from their disease or situation.
  4. Writing the story about one’s life experiences helps improve a person's physical and mental health.
  5. Grieving NICU parents should be encouraged to tell their story of grief as often as needed so the reality of the loss becomes real.
Keeping a NICU Journal may be a very helpful and useful way for NICU parents to cope with the their NICU experiences and another way of becoming empowered NICU parents.

More Articles:
Dyer KA. 2009. Students benefit from e-Journaling or using Web Journals in an Online Grief, Loss & Bereavement Course. TCC Worldwide Online Conference. Refereed Proceedings. Vol. 2009. No 1.
NICU Checklist. Products, Resources and Links.
Hathorn M. Keeping a Preemie Baby Diary in the NICU. Premature Baby - Premature Child.
Dyer KA. 2009.
Free NICU Journaling - NICU Diary Resources Available for NICU Parents
. NICU Parent Support Blog.

René de Cock.
Writing a Diary. Royalty Free Use.

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