Meet Brooke Schwarz: PMB Affiliate & NICU Nurse Leader
Living, adjusting, and coping during a pandemic has been tough for all of us. It’s been increasingly tougher for new parents whose babies have been admitted into Neonatal Intensive Care Units. Due to preterm birth, developmental problems, or labor complications, having a new baby in the NICU is a terrifying, and at times, very unexpected experience. A hospital unit that is already a high-stress environment, the current pandemic has added additional measures of emotional strain for the babies, family members, as well as medical staff.
For more than 25 years, PMB Affiliate and Neonatal Nursing Leader, Brooke Schwarz, has provided medical care, bedside comfort, and emotional support for newborn patients and their families at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. As a NICU nurse leader, Brooke admits her weeks never look the same, especially recently.
“I wear many hats. One day I may be assigned to be the charge nurse who oversees the entire unit. In that role I help support the team with incoming patients and discharges and anybody who has an emergency or code blue. Or I could be a transport nurse. If we get a call from a community hospital that has an affiliation with us and they have a premature baby or something traumatic happens, we go and bring them to us because we have more to offer. I’m the nurse that goes out with the team. We head out in an ambulance with our special equipment and special bed to get the patient and bring him or her to our hospital safely,” says Brooke—who earned her Master in Science in Nursing degree in 2010. “There’s definitely not a lot of predictability when you wear so many hats. I could work three days in a row and have three to four different jobs to do, but I always make sure to follow up and stay up-to-date with the families throughout their hospitalization.”
Coming and going from home to their units was never something to think twice about for medical workers. But with precautions at an all-time high, simply entering the hospital for Brooke and her colleagues is a multi-step process that’s necessary to help ensure their safety and the safety of hospital patients.
“Nowadays when I head into the hospital, all of the employees line up six feet apart as we enter. We get our temperature taken in infrared, then we are given a mask and head up to our units or designated places. I work with a very immuno-suppressed population. Our patients are very tiny and very at-risk of getting an infection. We get a report, get our assignment and a state of what’s going on, what deliveries we’re anticipating, and what special considerations we need to take,” says Brooke. “People are still having babies during these times, that doesn’t stop. Health issues are still going on around the country and world.”
One of the most challenging parts of Brooke’s work has been addressing the needs of new mothers who have tested positive for COVID-19.
“Where I work there are pregnant mothers who have tested positive for COVID and are delivering babies. Creating a plan for the babies whose immune systems are weak is necessary to protect the babies from getting a virus—whether it’s the common flu, COVID, or another contagion. Until a mother tests negative they aren’t able to come and see the baby, which is heartbreaking. We do allow one designated visitor to come to the bedside to be with the baby,” adds Brooke.
Safeguarding the health and safety of Chicago’s most vulnerable patients, Brooke is the definition of a healthcare hero. Like most heroes, she has trusty sidekicks by her side. PMB Essentials hemp extracts have been daily wellness companions Brooke has relied on during a time that’s been arguably the most demanding in her professional career.
“FOCUS and CALM are a part of my everyday regimen. With everything happening now I am more diligent than ever taking the extracts multiple times a day. Keeping my immune system strong, as I am frequently heading into a high-risk environment, is extremely important. The hospital I work at is Chicago’s COVID EpiCenter, designed for treating patients during a pandemic or massive trauma. In addition to taking hemp regularly, I am also diligent about washing my hands, not touching my face, wearing a mask, doing my daily meditation and deep breathing exercises, eating nutrient-rich foods, exercising, and getting outside as best as I can.”
Introduced to PrimeMyBody in 2017 by Affiliate leader, Lynda Hamilton, Brooke was amazed by the parallels between the benefits of cannabinoids and the overarching goals of restoring balanced health to her patients as a nurse.
“When I started to dig into the endocannabinoid system and into helping to create homeostasis, which is really what nursing is all about, it just made complete sense to me. Our job as nurses is to help our patients get out of fight-or-flight and into a place of balance. The more I learned about homeostasis and nourishing a system that many of us didn’t even know we had, the more I realized the purpose of the PMB opportunity was in amazing alignment with who I am. I had to sit up and pay attention.”
New to affiliate marketing, it took time for Brooke to get her business rolling. What spurred her momentum was an open-mind and a natural interest in learning something unfamiliar to her.
“In the beginning, I can’t say I was very excited about the opportunity side because I don’t have a business head. That’s just not where I come from and it was quite intimidating, to be honest. But I had my proof in our products. I knew enough about what I didn’t know and surrendered. Just like when I went into nursing. I started at square one. I just took it one step at a time. To this day, when I catch myself questioning things I ask questions and figure it out rather than saying it won’t work for me. This system is a system that works, it was just unfamiliar to me in the beginning. I accepted that, stepped out of my own way, and have allowed the process to happen.
Join us in thanking Brooke Schwarz for her compassion and commitment to her adorable patients, their families and to her PrimeMyBody Affiliate team. To all new parents who have been navigating the journey of parenthood through such turbulent times, we praise your courage, patience, and heart.