Karen Godard, assistant clinical professor for the School of Nursing, and seven senior nursing students volunteered at the Saint Alphonsus Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) Harvest Party held in Boise on October 7. Godard has taken student volunteers to the annual event for eight years. The event is sponsored by Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and organized by NICU staff.
The party celebrates the lives of children who were once patients in the neonatal unit and hosts their families who endured the fear and concern for their newborn child. These families are able to reunite with their healthcare professionals who provided the required specialized care for their patients within the NICU at various developmental stages and conditions. The party allows for these families to wear their favorite costumes and participate in Halloween themed games. They can also take part in a cookie decorating station, safety displays and a picture-taking station for families to mark the occasion.
Godard and nursing students enrolled in her Child and Family Nursing course volunteer at the event by registering the guests and running child-themed carnival games. Students are able to observe and interact with children and their families to become exposed to the serious nature of patients within the NICU. The event organizers continue to appreciate all of the volunteers as their presence allows the NICU staff to visit with returning families and patients.