Erica Cunningham

Erica Cunningham

Erica Cunningham, BSN, RN

Labor and Delivery Unit
Indiana University Health Arnett Hospital
Lafayette, Indiana
United States

Erica has demonstrated the compassion of nursing and embraced the knowledge that nursing can and does have a voice; and is vital in providing impactful ideas.  Erica served 5 years in the United States Army as a nurse; the father of her daughter also served and was actively deployed during the child’s early years.  She recently approached unit leadership with an idea for a project to recognize and show gratitude to our military families.

The project was to provide a gift of a recordable storybook to each family delivering their baby at a time when dad was deployed or about to be; or when mom will be deployed within the baby’s first year.  The deployed parent can then read the story and record it so that the book can be “read” to the baby by the absent parent any time they want and the child will hear their absent parent’s voice and know who it is.  It is a small way the absent parent can feel connected while away.

The project was financially supported by our Auxiliary.  Shortly after launch, Erica was involved in the delivery of twins.  The father was active military and was granted a short leave from the Middle East to come and meet his babies.  Erica composed a thank you message in the book that said:  “We are forever grateful for your willingness to sacrifice for our country.  Although nothing we give you is great enough, please accept this thank you as a sign of our appreciation of your service.  We hope it helps you stay closer to your family during your time apart.  With love-Maternal Child Health-IU Health Arnett.”

Two books entitled “All the ways I Love You” and “I Love You All Way-Bernenstein Bears” was presented to the father the day before he had to return to active duty.  Both parents were incredibly touched by the gesture.”