Sprawled on her stomach, reading not one but two nursing journals, eleven-year-old Mindy knew exactly what she wanted to be when she grew up. “I wanted to be a neonatal nurse,” she said, recounting her childhood days. After a lady in her church gave birth to quadruplets, Mindy helped care for them on Saturdays, sparking an interest that would influence the rest of her life.
Now as an adult, Mindy (Forsythe) Kohsman (’02) has fulfilled her childhood dream, becoming a neonatal nurse practitioner. “The desire to fulfill God’s calling by meeting the needs of fragile newborns and frightened parents is what drives me to get out of my warm bed at 5 a.m.,” she said.
Because she herself adopted a premature baby, Mindy understands the dilemmas, trials, and concerns of her patients. Mindy’s daughter Olivia, born at 32–33 weeks, spent time in the NICU, just like the babies Mindy cares for in the hospital.
Working at Mount Carmel West Hospital, Mindy maintains 19 beds for premature babies in a level IIIB Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. “God places me in specific situations at very specific times so that I can provide compassionate care to parents at perhaps the worst time in their lives,” she said. Aside from taking care of the most critical babies, she also oversees the Newborn Nursery and serves on the hospital’s ethics committee, thanks to her training in pediatric bioethics.
As an ethics committee member, she has had the opportunity “to discuss care practices through the lens of ethics as well as Christianity.” Mindy’s strong ethical code and attention to detail were fortified at PCC. “I feel blessed to have received training at PCC so that I can be used by God to help guide discussions, decisions, and policies on the numerous issues that medical professionals address on a daily basis.”
Mindy’s strong moral code led her to write “Ethical Considerations for Perinatal Toxicology Screening,” an article published by the Neonatal Network in the September/October 2016 journal. Her article focuses on the effects on babies exposed to substances in the womb and how these substances affect them from infancy to adolescence. Mindy reveals the harmful results of each substance, comparing the effects of legal drugs (like tobacco and alcohol) and opiates.
“I argue that much of the way the medical community is targeting both medical and social intervention is through unjust and disproven screening methods for substance abuse, and that we misplace emphasis on substances that are not necessarily the most harmful for infant and child outcomes,” she said.
Throughout the years, Mindy’s strong foundation has aided her in very difficult situations when she has shared in some of the hardest moments for new parents. “I see God at work most when I am enabled to comfort the grieving,” she said, recalling how parents have asked her to hold their dying infants. “Holding these little ones is the highest honor I could ever receive.”
But she has also shared in parents’ joy, like being in the operating room and having the privilege of caring for her best friend and coworker Michele’s 34-week triplets. “We worked together every day, she as the mother and me as the provider, toward the common interest of getting her babies home,” she said.
As Mindy ministers to these fragile infants every day, she knows she is doing exactly what the Lord has called her to do. “I believe that as a Christian, I have the responsibility to advocate for the weak and the disadvantaged,” she said. “That means ensuring that babies and their mothers are given the adequate resources for care that promote just treatment of both patients.”