NICU nurse has been taking care of critically-ill newborns for nearly 40 years

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Twice a week, Wednesday and Friday, you will find Terry Anderson in the NICU at Banner University Medical Center.

"You know, people ask isn't it hard, I say, 'well it is, but it's so rewarding and satisfying when you take that fragile infant from the beginning and nurture it until it's thriving and ready to go home,'" she said. "It's the best feeling in the world to see them walk out the door with their parents."

The challenges are her greatest reward, says Anderson. A mother of four and grandmother of one, Anderson has been taking care of critically ill babies in this very unit for nearly 40 years.

"I started in nursing at U of A and graduated in 1976 and I've been here since 1977," she said.

"She is wonderful, wonderful with parents, they love her," said Valeri Eckert, Terry's supervisor. "She just has a kind nurturing nature, so other staff are also drawn to her. She helps the new staff that come in and gets them comfortable."

Eckert has worked with Anderson for the past 19 years. Both women are grateful for the opportunities and changes that have taken place over the years, especially their role compared to that of a doctor.

"We used to be more subservient, if you will, and now they look at us as part of the health care team," Anderson said.

After nearly four decades, Anderson still has a passion for nursing and for helping and caring for the sick.

"I would, I love it, I wouldn't have been here that long if I didn't," she said.