May 8, 2024

Where Are They Now – Nishae Niimi

After graduating from Lāna‘i High & Elementary School (LHES) in 2011, Nishae Niimi began a fulfilling career in health care. Motivated by the examples set by her aunt and grandmother, she dedicated herself to nurturing and supporting those in their earliest stages of life.

Following Family Footsteps

Growing up, Nishae Niimi was often inspired by stories about her grandmother, who worked as a nurse. After graduating from high school, Nishae continued her education at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa on O‘ahu, majoring in nursing. In her final semester, she chose to specialize in pediatric care, following the footsteps of her aunt who worked at the Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women & Children.

“I didn’t really know what nurses did until I started going to school for it,” said Nishae. “But I chose it because it kind of ran in the family and it worked out.”

After graduating in 2015, Nishae began her career as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in the same unit where her aunt worked, gaining hands-on experience. Now a nurse in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), she specializes in the care of premature and sick infants, ensuring they receive the critical support necessary for healthy growth and development.

“We mostly take care of babies if they’re premature or full-term and sick,” said Nishae. “They usually come straight to us, and we take care of them to help them get bigger and stronger. We also help treat infections and teach parents how to do basic newborn care needs once they get closer to going home.”

While working in the NICU, Nishae says she also encounters families from Lāna‘i, allowing her to maintain strong connections with her community.

“Sometimes we have patients from Lāna‘i, and it’s nice to see them as well,” said Nishae. “Since I’m the only one from Lāna‘i in our unit, they’re always like, ‘Oh, this patient is from Lāna‘i,’ and I’m like, ‘Oh, I probably know them.’ So, I always go say hi.”

Passing on Wisdom

With seven years of experience in her field, Nishae has grown into roles of greater responsibility, including mentoring new nurses. She also occasionally serves as a charge nurse, where she oversees the nursing staff on her shift and coordinates patient care and communication between health care team members.

Nishae’s advice to current students at LHES is to pursue their interests and remain open to where those choices might lead them.

“I would say to pursue whatever you want to do because you won’t really know until you try,” said Nishae. “I went into working as a NICU nurse not knowing what the NICU was, and I ended up loving it and I’m still here. So don’t be afraid to try things you don’t fully understand because you might love it.”


“Where are they now?” features alumni from Lānaʻi High & Elementary School, shedding light on their journeys post-graduation.

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