We are thrilled to announce the winner of Apex PROaupair’s 2020 Care Professional of the Year contest: Luisa Schmid, a Pediatric Nurse and a graduate of nursing school at Klinikverbund Südwest, Böblingen in Germany. Read on to discover why Luisa is the winner!
Our family feels so incredibly blessed that Luisa is a part of our lives. We had heard about Apex PROauair from various friends in the special needs community. It wasn’t until our live-in nanny had to depart quickly due to health issues that we began our search. It only took a few weeks from application to having an incredible woman like Luisa join our family. Luisa moved to the US in September 2018 and was in rematch by November just as we were looking. When we read Luisa’s profile, we immediately knew she would be a great fit for our growing family. At the time we had a 9-year old special needs daughter and a 3-year old son with a baby due in April. Finding a caregiver with the “trifecta” of skills...special needs, toddler and infant experience is not easy. Luisa had experience with these areas.
Luisa epitomizes the meaning of a professional au pair. She is a trained pediatric NICU nurse who had been working in a hospital for three years prior to moving to Northern California for her au pair year. With her experience in medicine, patience, and nurturing personality she has been an amazing asset for our entire family.
Our eldest daughter has a rare genetic disorder. She is developmentally delayed. Her daily routine is quite busy including therapies, home exercises, school, and medicines. Luisa learned all of this rapidly and even found ways to improve our daily lives. Our daughter recently underwent surgery for a gastronomy tube (g-tube) as she was having difficulty consuming enough calories and liquids orally. Not only did Luisa come to the hospital for a few hours each day so that we could get a break to see our other children, she was an expert having had years of experience with feeding tubes. Once home, Luisa recognized that we felt overwhelmed with our new morning routine. After observing us rush to wash out the g-tube bag and parts in the moments before getting our daughter onto the morning school bus, Luisa made a small suggestion that we switch our timing for changing out the daily formula bag. This simple change decreased our morning prep time by at least 10 minutes and our stress level substantially.
Luisa’s eagerness to learn new skills and help our daughter be a part of the community has been unforgettable. Luisa has traveled with us to Southern California multiple times to help her participate in intensive PT, OT, speech, and feeding therapy. Her attention to detail and ability to learn quickly has helped us to maintain the therapy exercises in our home program. Luisa has also attended hippotherapy camp and mainstream summer camps over several weeks. Never before had our daughter been able to participate without a caregiver. This was never possible as we had to stay home with our other children. She now has more friends in the community thanks to the willingness of Luisa to help her enjoy her summer days with other children.
Luisa’s patience seems to know no limits. She is great at helping our active 4 year old son engage in his daily routine. At times there are conflicts over eating vegetables, washing hair, or getting dressed on time. With her ingenuity, Luisa has been able to effectively turn all of these challenging tasks into fun games. So, now they have “carrot parties” or “run under the waterfall shower”, or contests to see who can get dressed the fastest in the morning. This ability to make even the mundane fun sets Luisa apart. Our son loves building elaborate train sets with Luisa, baking German bread together, and the nightly “gute nacht”.
Fortuitously, our baby daughter was born on Luisa’s birthday. After nine months, they are both incredibly bonded together. In our baby’s early days, we had a minor medical scare. When I asked Luisa, she knew exactly what was going on and what to do. Our pediatrician confirmed Luisa’s knowledge and reaffirmed there was nothing else to be concerned about. Having a NICU nurse by our sides as parents is so very helpful in small moments like this one.
Luisa fits seamlessly into our family and we so greatly enjoy sharing our cultures together. Our friends and family know her and love her as much as we do. One young family friend recently lamented the fact that Luisa will only be with us until the end of her 2nd year in September. This demonstrates how much she has become a part of our family and community.
Our son’s Spanish teacher said it best in an email after meeting her “Luisa is fantastic - I have seen a lot of au pairs and she is truly exceptional.
We couldn’t agree more. Luisa is an exceptionally wonderful Professional Au Pair of the year.