In the 608: Why a NICU mom became a NICU nurse

MADISON, Wis. – We’ve heard of a lot of folks making a big career change over the last couple of years. For one local woman, it started with a magical moment more than six years ago.

Molly Joshua is a registered nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital.

“Nursing became my calling,” Molly said.

But this is never what she predicted.

Six years ago, then educator, Molly and her wife, Kim found themselves delivering twins early at 24 weeks, which meant they were extreme pre-mature babies.

It was a long stay in the NICU, and a lot of questions to the nurses and doctors, in what was the scariest time of her life.

“I just really wanted to be able to advocate for my own kids in that moment, so I just really wanted to know everything that there was to know.”

Molly says she found support in the NICU nurses who wrapped her family with love every day. Cheryl Ordens was one of them.

“I joke around here, by saying by the end of your stay here you’re going to be a trained NICU nurse,” Ordens explained. “Fast forward and here’s Molly, took me literally and went back to school to be a NICU nurse.”

Ordens says she saw something unique in Molly from the start.

“From day one she wanted to participate, changing diapers, taking temperature, and at 24 weeks they are tiny, so taking that initiative from the very beginning, you knew she was going to do well,” Ordens added.

After their twins’ nearly four month stay at St. Mary’s Hospital. Molly wanted to find a way to give back with her own experience and perspective.

“Where I’d be most put to use is at the bedside with the parents who are watching over their children and wondering what’s next and sort of comforting in that angle,” Molly said.

Molly went back to school for nursing this time and has been in the field for about 2.5 years now. June will mark one year for her in the NICU St. Mary’s, even surprising the doctor who saved her family.

“The lightbulb went off in my head, like it’s you. I had heard she had come, had heard there was a nurse Molly on the unit, but I hadn’t put two and two together,” Dr. Ama Koranteng. “The nurses encouraged her, like you see what we go through; you’d be a perfect person for other parents that come this way, with your experience, because you know the emotional part.”

Molly says Dr. Koranteng changed her life.

“She gave me my children,” Molly added. “So it’s a cool connection, and an honor to work next to her for sure.”

Molly and Kim had the twins through IVF. Their kids turn seven this summer, and she wouldn’t want life any other way. She encourages folks at home: do what makes you happy.

“It definitely was a huge life change,” Molly said. “It took a lot of work, but totally worth it. I’m so happy to be here, and so happy to be at this job.”