Colorado Springs NICU nursing duo aren’t just coworkers -- they’re also mother and daughter!

A Colorado Springs woman has followed in her mother’s footsteps -- all the way to Children’s Hospital!
Published: May. 19, 2023 at 6:30 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - It’s always wonderful when our coworkers become like family!

But what about when your coworker actually is your family?

A Colorado Springs woman has followed in her mother’s footsteps -- all the way to Children’s Hospital!

“I always get asked, ‘Is it so weird to work with your mom?” and ‘I don’t think I could ever work with my mom; I love her, but we would just butt heads,’” said Taylor Rodriguez, a NICU nurse at Children’s Colorado Springs. “But I don’t feel that way at all.”

For Taylor, her favorite coworker is her mom!

“She’s my go-to person. I just love being with her and working together.”

Taylor grew up watching her mother, Melanie Rodriguez, work as a NICU nurse, first at Memorial Hospital, and then later at Children’s.

“My mom’s obviously my role model, and seeing how her job was, the three shifts on and four shifts off so she could be present for our family as well, was really something that I liked.”

That inspired her to start volunteering in the NICU as a teen.

“The medical field was always something that I was interested in, I would say, since like middle school. And then I really started considering nursing probably freshman year in high school, maybe. When I turned 15, I started volunteering in NICU with my mom. That really helped solidify things, just getting to see it in person and what they do and what the environment is like. And then, yeah, when I turned 18, I started working as a CNA, and then I worked here in NICU as a CNA through nursing school.”

Last year, she graduated from the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (UCCS).

Lindsey Grewe: “How did you feel when she crossed the stage as a nursing school graduate?”

Melanie Rodriguez: “It was pretty amazing. I did get to pin her at her pinning. So that was pretty special. She asked me to do that.”

And now with a nursing degree in hand, Taylor knew there was no place she’d rather work than Children’s with her mom.

Lindsey Grewe: “What’s it like being coworkers?

Taylor Rodriguez: “I love it.”

Melanie Rodriguez: “I do too.”

For Melanie, it’s seeing her daughter blossom as a young nurse.

“It has been really amazing. We do get that question quite a bit from our coworkers, ‘What is it like working with your mom?’ ‘What is it like working with your daughter?’ I found it to be very special. I feel like I’ve been able to show Taylor the good aspects of nursing.

“Being able to watch Taylor grow as a nurse and just watch her experiences, watch her get that IV, watch her connect with the families. She’s a really great nurse, and it’s just amazing to see.”

While Taylor says there’s no one better to show her the ropes.

“I think just having someone I can really feel comfortable asking questions to and learning with,” she said when asked what the best part about working with her mother is. “It’s the best thing, because as a new grad, you feel like you don’t know anything and that your questions could be stupid or something, even though we have a really great environment here and no one judges, it’s still really nice having someone you can feel totally comfortable with.”

“It is nice when we get to work the same shift. We do carpool. ... We usually try to each lunch together if we can, if timing works out,” Melanie said.

As NICU nurses, this mother-daughter duo works closely with families every day, with babies and their parents the focus of their jobs.

“We take care of a wide range of neonates, from little teeny tiny micropreemies to newborns and up from there. But taking care of babies. They come and see us if they need oxygen or if they need IV fluids or need a little extra help,” Melanie explained. “... Sometimes it’s not always the easiest job, but I thought she would definitely be a good fit, you know, for the NICU.”

And clearly, exceptional care runs in their family!

“We took care of a family, separately, of course. I took care of the family one day and a couple of days later, Taylor took care of the family. And I just thought it was really sweet, because we have primary nursing here, and so that that family requested that Taylor and I -- and they didn’t even know we were related! -- but that Taylor and I be their primary nurses, and I just thought, ‘Well, that’s kind of special. They like both of us!’” Melanie said.

Both women say working side by side makes a rewarding job even more so.

“The connections we get to make with the families, I love that. Also, our coworkers and the environment we work in is really special. I think everyone is so helpful and inviting, and that makes it a lot easier, especially being a new nurse,” Taylor told 11 News.

“I know that what’s really special to me is just watching these babies and families just get better and just learn to eat and just watch them go home and just thrive. That’s just really heartwarming and just really fills you up every day when you get to see that. So I really like that, working in the NICU environment,” Melanie said.

And maybe someday, Children’s will have three generations walking these halls together!

“I do also have a granddaughter who recently filled out a little sheet about what she wants to be when she grows up, and she put on there that she wants to be a nurse as well!”