Meet Kari Oppermann

“Parents entrust us to save their babies lives and what an honor it is that I get to do that.” 






  1. What is your job title and how long have you been serving the NICU community?

I’m a clinical manager and this is my 15th year working with patients and families in the NICU.


  1. What made you want to become a nurse? 

I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine. At Baylor, where I went to college, I took some business courses and did not like them so then I switched to nursing school. I really loved nursing school and was excited to begin a career in patient care.


  1. What does a clinical manager do?

I’m no longer at the bedside with the babies I do more of the behind the scenes work in the NICU. I help coordinate the nurse’s schedules and work with other managers to put new policies in place to improve quality of care and patient safety.


  1. What would you say are some of the biggest challenges as a NICU caregiver?

Anytime you have to deal with a loss. When you know in your heart that you did everything you could but for whatever reason the baby doesn’t make it. When you have bonded with these families, gotten close to them and go through that experience with them and you know that when they leave the hospital their lives will never be the same.


  1. How did you balance work and home life when your children were little?

It was definitely hard. My babies would be sleeping when I left for work in the morning and then sometimes sleeping in the evenings when I got home. But it definitely made me appreciate the time we had together as a family.  Also, seeing firsthand what some families go through in the NICU makes you appreciate your children that much more.


  1. What advice would you give to new NICU nurse?

Try to always remember that it’s not about you. It’s about the families, they are going through the worst experience of their life. Your goal should be to always try and make it the best experience you can for the families.

Me and our amazing group of NICU nurses at the Vermont Oxford Network Conference last year.