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‘Rockin’ and rolling at Sanford Bemidji: Hailey Hinners thoroughly enjoys her time as a Baby Cuddler

It's the best day of the week, Hailey Hinners will tell you. Working multiple jobs and studying to hopefully one day become a nurse, Hinners has found her ultimate, calming place. A nursery (with sometimes fussy babies) at Sanford Bemidji Medical...

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Hailey Hinners, a BSU student and a Sanford Bemidji "Baby Rocker" volunteer, in the nursery at Sanford. (Jillian Gandsey | Bemidji Pioneer)
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It’s the best day of the week, Hailey Hinners will tell you.

Working multiple jobs and studying to hopefully one day become a nurse, Hinners has found her ultimate, calming place.

A nursery (with sometimes fussy babies) at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center.

Hinners is a volunteer Baby Cuddler.

“I mean, who doesn’t want to rock babies,” she says, gently swaying back and forth with a sleeping newborn in her arms.

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Hinners, 20, is a junior at BSU who plans to enroll in the university’s nursing program this fall. Born and raised in Bemidji, she started volunteering at Sanford last fall, first in the emergency room, before moving over to “baby rocking.”

Hinners said, for her, volunteering at Sanford is the definition of a “win-win.” She can give back to her community, she said, while also being able to learn from nurses she plans to emulate in her own career. She likes the fact that by her volunteering, she is helping nurses do the best for the babies and their families.

Baby Cuddlers help out nursery staff, not to mention the mothers, by sitting and rocking with newborns, allowing a break for mom to take a shower, a nap, meet with the doctor or nurses, whatever is needed.

Hinners usually volunteers twice a week, two to three hours each day. Remember, she’s a college student with multiple other jobs.

“I just wanted to do whatever I could, to get myself into the volunteering world, especially in the medical field,” she said.

Orientation wasn’t difficult, she said. There’s some paperwork to fill out, and regulations to learn, such as the HIPAA laws regarding patient privacy.

Hinners likes the flexibility of the online scheduling, too. She can go on to the website from her home computer, or even her smartphone, and find out when she’s needed or schedule her time when it fits. If she can’t make a shift, she lets them know 24 hours in advance.

“They have a really good communication process,” she said.

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She’s enjoyed her experience at Sanford so far, and has even encouraged several of her fellow college-student friends to volunteer.

The most rewarding aspect to being a Baby Cuddler, Hinners said, is simply that time with the newborn.

“Just to be able to know that I am making a difference in this tiny human’s life; that they won’t even know, won’t even remember,” she said. “It just makes me so happy when I can hold an infant in my arms and know that they are secure with me.”

Matt Cory is Editor of the Pioneer. He is a University of North Dakota graduate and worked at the Grand Forks Herald as a reporter, copy editor and newsroom editor for 19 years before coming to Bemidji in 2013.
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