PFCC Star of the month: Harini Sinnakili

When Lina’s parents Wahid and Amira were asked to nominate a staff member for this month’s PFCC Star award they didn’t hesitate a minute. “Harini was the first person who came to mind,” says Wahid. “We felt very lucky to have her looking after our daughter.” Wahid and Amira say that beyond carrying out her nursing duties, Harini did so much more for them in terms of moral and emotional support. She’d also call them regularly at home to let them know how Lina was doing. “When we knew Harini was working, we were very calm, because it was like leaving our daughter with a sister or a mother. She’s exceptional on every level.”

Harini started her nursing career working in emergency in the adult sector, but she eventually applied to the Children’s. “Even though I’d always been interested in pediatrics I had never really imagined working in the NICU. Obviously, it was really different to what I’d done before,” she says.

From the perspective of patient- and family-centered care, Harini says that coming to the Children’s provided the new challenge of caring for the family, not just the patient. “When I got here, I told myself if I’m looking at the patient as a whole, then that ‘whole’ includes the parents. They play a huge role in their baby’s life,” she says. “And as I mastered my nursing skills I was able to go beyond my nursing tasks and really focus on the psychosocial aspects of care too.” Harini, who is a graduate of Vanier College, is currently doing her bachelor’s degree online. “A class on family nursing is part of the program, so I think that also helped me in my journey here in the NICU.”

Harini met Lina and her parents within their first couple of days on the unit. “Amira and Wahid asked me to be Lina’s primary nurse,” says Harini. “To see how Lina has grown and developed, and how much her parents did along the way is wonderful. They were here with Lina every day and very involved in her care.”

Many families in the NICU go through a lengthy and often steep learning curve. “Every day, they’re being given new information,” says Harini. “As a nurse, you work with them to make sure they understand the info, what needs to be done and of course, reassure them as much as possible.” She says it’s rewarding to see how families eventually become more at ease with everything. “Sometimes during morning rounds, Amira would do the talking and I wouldn’t have to say a thing!”

When Harini first started in the NICU, she didn’t expect she’d grow to love it so much. As Lina was getting ready to go home with her parents, Harini reflected on why that is. “You don’t always realize it on a day-to-day basis but then you see the end results, and see how both baby and parents are doing. The NICU is so much about teamwork, and it’s such a good feeling to know you’ve contributed to something.”