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Every day is a birthday for these nurses

January 1, 2019

FLORENCE, S.C. – For four nurses in Florence, each day at work is like a birthday.

For the community, seeing the first baby born in the New Year is a tradition much like the ball dropping in Times Square, but for the nurses, each day brings new birthdays for them to celebrate.

Each day, Tara Stephens and Priscilla Russell walk into the women’s center of Carolinas Hospital System and Jennifer Morris and Jessica Macchio arrive on the fourth floor of the McLeod Pavilion, and they know they’ll be called on to help make an addition to a family in the Pee Dee during their shifts.

Stephens serves a nursery nurse and a neonatal intensive care unit [NICU] nurse.

“I take care of the babies after the delivery until the time they go home,” Stephens said.

She said she gets to experience birthdays and graduations. As an NICU nurse, she works with and watches the babies progress from birth until they are able to go home, and each developmental step the babies take is another step toward graduation and going home.

Russell serves as a bedside labor and delivery nurse. She also recently has transitioned into a role of doing audits and helping with new initiatives at the hospital. Russell said she didn’t want anything to do with being a labor and delivery nurse when she was going to nursing school but was talked into it by a doctor she worked with.

Morris and Macchio both work in the labor and delivery at McLeod. Morris has worked in the labor and delivery department for 14 years, Macchio for two.

“It’s like no other experience,” Morris said. “It’s awesome.”

“In nursing school, whenever I saw my first delivery, I knew this is where I wanted to be,” Macchio said. “It’s a special time. ... Every day is usually very exciting and usually very happy.”

Morris said she had been a scrub technician before she became a nurse. She said she became a nurse to further her goal of interacting with patients. She worked her way from being a certified surgical technician to a patient care supervisor.

“I’m a New Years Eve baby,” Morris said. “People always call me a tax deduction or whatever. I was the last baby born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in the ’70s. My birthday is 12/31/79, and there’s a joke that they featured me and the first baby born and they mixed our pictures up, so every year that’s the story that I hear about my birthday.”

Morris added that McLeod had 53 babies born last week.

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