Former NICU patient Elizabeth Orsini, pictured at her high school graduation, is ready to attend nursing school this fall.

Elizabeth “Lizzy” Orsini’s ties to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) began at birth.

In 1995, Lizzy and her twin brother were born prematurely at BWH, at just 30.5 weeks. Her brother did not survive, and Lizzy struggled in the newborn intensive care unit (NICU) for six weeks. Her parents remained with Lizzy in the NICU, holding her skin-to-skin on their chests, a practice known as “kangaroo care,” for 10 hours a day until she grew strong enough to go home.

Now, 18 years later, Lizzy, who has been a dedicated volunteer in the NICU throughout high school, is preparing to begin a new chapter in her life as a nursing student at Fitchburg State University in the fall.

Lizzy has been interested in medicine since she was a child. Her love for medicine was solidified when she visited BWH on an eighth grade field trip. Soon after, Lizzy began volunteering in the NICU.

During her time volunteering in the NICU, Lizzy assisted nurses by answering the phone and rocking babies to sleep. The first time she held a baby in the NICU, she realized that nursing was the professional path for her.

Although Lizzy will be leaving BWH to attend school in the fall, she says she will carry the lessons she has learned during her time volunteering here.

“BWH has provided me with opportunities to grow and give back,” she said. “The hospital taught me leadership skills and how to step out of my comfort zone. I’m here today because of BWH’s NICU, and I am truly thankful for that.”

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– Karen G.

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