Inspiring Stories

From Cookies to Babies: New Nurse Delivers on The Meaning of Care

Emili Schulz, BSN, RN, will tell you “it all started with handing out warm cookies and newspapers to patients.”

But her dream of becoming a labor and delivery nurse began well before she was a volunteer at Methodist Women's Hospital.

“When I was really little, I don’t even know where it came from, I just always wanted to be a baby nurse,” she said.

Getting her foot in the door

When Emili was in high school, her mother encouraged her to volunteer at a hospital. Emili was quick to research the opportunity at Women’s, and she was selected to become a "Volunteen."

“I felt like I won the lottery!” she said.

Shortly after she mastered cookies and newspapers at Women’s, Emili was allowed inside the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), where she was tasked with decorating windows for the babies’ rooms. That’s where she feels the magic really unfolded, as she observed the constant and genuine interaction among nurses, babies and parents.

“I was like a kid in a candy shop, walking around those units, wishing to be a part of it, some day,” Emili said.

Becoming a part of "it"

Emili attended college at Nebraska Wesleyan University. She admits that she explored other health care career opportunities, but she always came back to the idea of nursing.

“Again, just because of the constant patient interaction,” she said.

She graduated from NWU in 2016 and began a 15-month accelerated BSN program at Nebraska Methodist College. When it came time for her preceptorship – in which students are paired with registered nurses for training, instruction and supervision – she didn’t think twice about selecting Methodist Women’s Hospital as her preferred location.

“It’s a very sought after preceptorship,” said Emili.

A random draw would make Emili’s dream come true. She was granted a preceptorship at Women’s.

“I was ready to work somewhere else and kind of pay my dues in order to get here, so, I mean, yeah, that’s exactly what it was – a dream come true."

The Meaning of Care

Emili finally became a labor and delivery nurse at Methodist Women’s Hospital in June 2018. She’s not quite finished with the on-boarding process, but she’s wasting no time creating meaningful relationships with her patients.

Just recently, Emili received "The Meaning of Care" Award through the Methodist Hospital Foundation. She was nominated by a couple who said they deeply appreciated her care and patience during their hospital stay.

“As first-time parents, we were nervous,” the couple wrote in their nomination letter. “She stayed with us, even staying past her shift to make sure we were comfortable before leaving for the day.”

“It’s just natural,” Emili said. “When you spend all day with a patient, you don’t want to leave until you feel like they’re OK.”

“Emili is just wonderful,” said Deb Becker, Labor and Delivery Team Leader at Women’s. “She has this gift of being able to bond with patients, instantly."

What's next?

Thank yous and notable awards aren’t something Emili has anticipated, but they certainly reaffirm her love for what she does.

“It’s pretty amazing to stop and think that I get to watch so many individuals take their first breath,” she said. “I kind of wish 5-year-old Emili could see herself now.”

So, where does 24-year-old Emili see herself in the future?

“Oh, I still want to be here. I still want to be bringing life into the world.”

About the Author

Jessica Gill, the External Communications Manager for Methodist Health System, is a former television news anchor and journalist. She has a passion for story-telling and illustrating Methodist’s Meaning of Care.

See more articles from Jessica Gill
Photo of Jessica Gill