Nursing, full circle: A lifetime of care for Jacky

nurse-asthma

Jacky Steiding has worked at Boston Children’s Hospital for 24 years — first as a clinical assistant and now as nursing clinical coordinator of the Boston Children’s Division of Pulmonary and Respiratory Diseases. But her relationship with Boston Children’s goes back much further, to before she can even remember.

“I spent many evenings in the emergency room at Boston Children’s,” says Jacky, who was diagnosed with asthma as a young girl and struggled with the condition her entire childhood. “My mom wouldn’t take me anywhere else.” She remembers her mother’s hand rubbing her forehead and the nurses’ calming voices, assuring her she would be all right.

Jacky with her grandmom and dad

Over time, she came to think of Boston Children’s as a healing space — “my safe place that helped me breath again.”

That feeling of being safe stuck with Jacky.

When she was planning for college during senior year of high school, Jacky asked for guidance from her history teacher, Mr. Marston. She told him about her struggles with asthma and that she wanted to help children feel safe. He suggested nursing school.

“In hindsight, nursing was my calling,” says Jacky. “But I didn’t realize it until that talk with Mr. Marston.”

Pursuing nursing was the right decision for Jacky.

Today, Jacky sees children with a range of pulmonary issues, including asthma. She loves her job. “Every day is different, but busy — full of excitement and challenges,” Jacky says. “I support and guide my peers, and I also do a lot of hands-on patient care. No matter what, I try to stay calm and always recognize the positive aspects of any given situation.”

Jacky will never forget one child who came to her clinic with a life-threatening illness after receiving care abroad for years. Desperate to give her child the best chance of survival, the mother was managing her son’s care on her own, with only websites and chat rooms to help.

When the family finally arrived at Boston Children’s, the mother began sobbing. “I knew they were tears of joy,” says Jacky. “She was no longer alone and scared for her child. Being able to assure her that her family was safe and in good hands with us … that’s exactly why I became a nurse.”

Learn about how Boston Children’s treats asthma in children.