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NICU nurse Skyler Heitz pictured with text "I am the light in the darkness" and I am the Difference Headshot Image.png
Texas Children’s Hospital

Skyler Heitz is the Light in the Darkness

Skyler Heitz, a night shift nurse in Texas Children’s Level 4 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the Texas Medical Center, uses her creative skills during downtime to create lasting memories for families. Stamping her young patients’ footprints, she makes artwork for their parents to take home. 

“In the NICU,” Skyler explains, “parents are experiencing something that wasn’t part of their plan. We allow them to feel their feelings and uplift them any way we can.” 

According to Skyler, taking this time to bond with patients’ families has a positive impact on their wellbeing and develops rapport, which are key parts of her role.  

“Communicating why certain decisions are made by the medical team helps parents regain a sense of control,” says Skyler. She adds that educating patients’ families also strengthens the relationships team members have with one another. 

Nurturing a Passion for Nursing 

Skyler’s buoyant personality and passion for being a reassuring, uplifting presence in the NICU are qualities she inherited from her parents. She describes her father, who works in medical device sales, as charismatic with a gift for conversation. Her mother is an elementary school teacher. Their vocations were an unmistakable influence on Skyler’s choice to become a neonatal nurse. 

Spending time in and out of children’s hospitals near her home outside Fort Worth also affected her career path. When she was in fourth or fifth grade, Skyler began having seizures and was diagnosed with benign rolandic epilepsy (BRE). 

“Through it all, the nurses and child life specialists were the people I spent the most time with. They were kind and positive. Their attitudes gave me confidence as a patient and eased my worries. I wanted to be just like them when I grew up.” 

Journey to a Fulfilling Career 

Skyler received her bachelor’s degree in kinesiology from Texas A&M. She later attended nursing school at UT Health and completed part of her capstone program at Texas Children’s in our Level 3 NICU. 

“I called my mom after my first night shift and told her, ‘I have to work here,’” remembers Skyler, who cites the joyful environment and our one-of-a-kind culture as influential in her decision to join our team that fall. 

As a student, Skyler says she was welcomed with open arms and allowed to gain true field experience with the guidance of her preceptor. Now a preceptor herself, Skyler encourages new nurses to persevere through their low points, say yes to opportunities and make connections with patients and colleagues. 

 “I remember how it felt being new and uncertain. It’s fun to pass along my knowledge and help people find their groove.” 

Skyler says the joyful staff, encouraging leaders and her camaraderie with co-workers motivate her to stay and grow at Texas Children’s. She feels lucky to collaborate with a world-class medical team on rare cases and honored to make a difference in her young patients’ lives. 

“Every day brings a memorable and unique experience. I love coming to work.” 

Creative Outlets and Active Pursuits 

Skyler has a passion for interior design, describing her style as somewhere between Coastal and French aesthetic. Unsurprising to the recipients of her tiny footprint art, she spends days off designing graphics and art. 

Her boundless energy is directed not just to creative pursuits but also to self-care. She feels it’s important as a nurse to invest in herself, eat healthy foods and enjoy Houston’s many sunny days. She also stays active as a spin instructor.  

“I love interacting with the Houston community while delivering a positive and refreshing experience for my riders.” 

Even when she’s not at work on the night shift, Skyler is in the day-brightening business. 

Join us at Texas Children’s and be the light in someone’s life. Apply for career opportunities and Be the Difference at Texas Children’s. Explore job openings today to start your journey.