Stories about: nursing

Journeys to excellence: Stories of three award-winning nurses

Cassandra is a nurse at Boston Children's Hospital.
Cassandra Fleurentin

Every year, the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) recognizes nurses for their outstanding commitment to their profession and for going above and beyond in their designated specialty area. Read the stories of the three Boston Children’s Hospital nurses honored with this year’s Excellence in Nursing Awards.

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When nursing runs in the family

For some, being a nurse at Boston Children’s Hospital is a family affair. In this video, meet a few of the men and women who care for patients and families alongside their own siblings, parents, children and spouses:

  • Sisters-in-law Shanna Barker (MICU) and Kelly Wietecha (MICU)
  • Caitlin Dolan (Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease) and her mother Kathy Waddicor (Adolescent Medicine)
  • Sisters Michelle Audain (MSICU) and Pascale Audain (MICU)
  • Pat Pratt (Nursing Director of Patient Services — Procedure Units) and her daughter Amy Sparrow (Center for Motility and Functional Disorders)
  • Paula Conrad (MICU) and her niece Emily O’Brien (Intermediate Care Program)
  • Jean Gouthro (General Medicine) and her niece Karin Gavin (General Medicine)
  • Twin sisters Julia Perkins (Enteral Tube Program) and Rosella Micalizzi (Colorectal and Pelvic Malformation Center)
  • Liz Sacco (CICU) and her mother Patricia Burke-Sacco (Day Surgery)
  • Sisters Megan Dube (Inpatient Gastroenterology) and Denise Currier (Intermediate Care Program)
  • Michael Greenlee (Cardiac ICU) and his wife Lisa Greenlee (Cardiac ICU)

Learn more about Nursing at Boston Children’s Hospital.

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For teen with epilepsy, nurses are like a second family

epilepsy-emma-1When Emma Johnston steps onto 9 Northwest at Boston Children’s Hospital on a recent Friday afternoon, she’s like a celebrity surrounded by her fans. Nurses come out in droves with big hugs and warm smiles to greet the 13-year-old. They all know her. They have all cared for her, some since she was a baby.

Emma’s been a familiar face at Boston Children’s since her first seizure, at 7 weeks. Since that time, the nurses on 9 Northwest have made her feel special whenever she’s here.

Genetic mutation causes difficult seizures

Although Emma has gone for long periods of time without seizures, they have become more difficult to control in the past two and half years. Last November, after testing at the Boston Children’s Epilepsy Genetics Program, her family discovered why this might be the case: Emma has a very rare SCN8A gene mutation. Kids with this type of mutation have seizures that are notoriously hard to treat.

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Nursing, full circle: A lifetime of care for Jacky


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.

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