Compassion Comes Full Circle

Story by Chris Adam, photo courtesy of Elizabeth Carter

Above: Elizabeth Carter (NURS ’12) hikes in the Central Cascades of Washington state.

Life came full circle for Elizabeth Carter (NURS ’12) when she graduated from Purdue University. With her nursing degree, she landed a job in the neonatal intensive care unit at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.

Returning home

Two decades earlier, Carter and her three sisters — a set of fraternal quadruplet sisters — were born prematurely in the NICU at Riley. Her brother also was born prematurely there the following year but passed away shortly after birth due to medical complications.

Her family is grateful for the kind and compassionate support they received from the staff at Riley, Carter says. “Riley has a very special place in our hearts, and we have been involved in various events throughout the years.”

Carter says she knew from an early age she wanted to be a nurse. She volunteered in a hospital throughout her high school years and discovered she really enjoyed helping people during stressful times in their lives.

“Nursing is a very hands-on career and very relational,” she says. “It is extremely rewarding to be so intimately involved in families’ lives. There are many options and different career paths as a nurse. That was an incentive for me, as there would always be some different area to experience and further my learning.”

Carter landed her dream job in the Riley NICU right after graduating from Purdue in 2012. Her sister Abigail also returned to Riley as a certified child life specialist and works in the NICU to support children and families with physical and emotional development.

“It was a great experience to return to the unit where our life began and reconnect with many of the nurses who took care of my sisters and me,” Carter says. “Those nurses are the true heroes. They have devoted so much of their time and energy into bettering little babies’ lives throughout Indiana and nearby states.

“The best part of working at Riley is the people. From the staff to the families, it is an incredibly rewarding job. We see miracles every day, and I thank God for the opportunity to witness those moments.”

On the road

Carter became a traveling nurse in 2015. She works approximately three months at a time in the NICU of various hospitals across the country.

“Travel nursing is a unique opportunity to explore the United States and get paid to do so! It has been an incredible experience to visit other NICU units, meet some of the most amazing people and adventure wherever I am,” she says.

Though Carter enjoys the thrill of traveling, she does not plan to do it for the rest of her career. She remains supplemental in the Riley NICU, with plans to possibly return full-time when she’s ready.

“It’s a joy to return every once in a while and see my NICU friends,” Carter says. “I know that wherever my future leads me, the Lord has been so incredibly faithful, and He will continue to guide me each and every day.”

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