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The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) may not be a part of the hospital that most of us are familiar with. However, it is the crucial corner of any major hospital where newborn babies needing intensive medical attention are often admitted.
Some babies have difficulty making their transition into the world, and premature birth, a difficult delivery, or birth defects can make this transition even more challenging. Having trained and specialized health professionals within an NICU is essential—something Lyne Liboiron-Bouie knows all too well.
Lyne works as a nurse in the NICU at Seton Family Hospital, an affiliate hospital of Ascension Health, in Austin, Texas. At times, she takes care of up to six babies in intensive care.
“They could have something like jaundice. Or they could be micro-preemies who are 23 weeks old instead of 40,” explains Lyne.
The demanding nature of the NICU can be stressful, both for parents of infants and nurses alike. But Lyne was drawn to this particular sector of the hospital. “In nursing school, I spent a day in the neonatal ICU. It was busy and there was lots going on—it was the only area of nursing where I totally loved being. It was like a calling, I guess,” she says.
Having originally grown up in Calgary, Canada, Lyne moved to Texas for a new job opportunity. But after moving to the States, she quickly realized that, in order to progress in her career, returning to school was an absolute must. At the time, all she could afford was a two-year degree. Later, when she came upon the means to do so, Lyne began the quest of finding the right university from which to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing.
“I had been looking into multiple BSN programs and applied to many. What drove me crazy with the programs is that, even though I had a two-year degree already, they wanted me to take more pre-requisites and pay more for credit hours,” Lyne says, recalling her frustrations. Then, by word-of-mouth from a coworker, she discovered WGU.
WGU’s competency-based model allows students to move quickly through material they already know so they can focus on what they still need to learn. “At WGU, I didn’t have to pay for credit hours because it was a flat-rate tuition. So the fact that I could just lump it all in and didn’t have to pay any more was a lot more appealing to me.”
As many adult students with families, full-time jobs, and plenty of other responsibilities experience, Lyne ran into some roadblocks while completing her degree at WGU. “I was pregnant and sick for a whole term,” she remembers. However, she was determined from the get-go to finish her degree within one year of starting it. Her faculty mentor, Heather, noticed Lyne’s immense dedication, calling Lyne “a very hard worker.” And though Lyne recognizes her own driven nature, she appreciated Heather’s support along the way. “It was just nice to have someone to check in with weekly and give me pointers. My mentor was just awesome,” Lyne says.
Lyne graduated from WGU in 2014 and plans to get her master’s someday. She lives with her family in Pflugerville, Texas.
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