Caitlin Golota, NICU Nurse
Northwestern Prentice Women’s Hospital
Nominated by Lindsay Bertoncini and Tristan Lopez
I knew there was no one that could have
taken better care of the twins
by Tristan Lopez
Oh…Caitlin. As I write this recommendation tears well up in my eyes as I think how I am going to get into 500 words what Caitlin has meant to my family. During our 74-day NICU stays, Caitlin spent more than 225 hours taking care of our twins, born at 27 weeks gestational age. Caitlin is a night-shift nurse—something that all of our day nurses did and talked about how much they hated. Even though she has the seniority to move to days, she has continued working on nights even when her friends moved to days. There is something extra special about those nurses that had the seniority to move but loved their job and their babies so much that they continued to work the night shifts. When Caitlin was there, I knew there was no one that could have taken better care of the twins—we could rest well those nights.
Caitlin is one of those people who you meet and your life is forever changed. I loved hearing her stories and getting advice from her. We celebrated many firsts with Caitlin.
Caitlin is one of those people who you meet and your life is forever changed. I loved hearing her stories and getting advice from her. We celebrated many firsts with Caitlin. She was the one that recognized the boys were ready to try their first bottle. She was the first to say that we could remove their feeding tube. When you have those important milestone events, you start to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Caitlin never once was afraid of the extra work that those events brought. With Caitlin, it was always about what the boys needed, not what she liked doing the most or wanted us to try. She knew when it was time to try something new, even if it meant her spending hours on one of her shifts showing us how. (And another hour at 3am making a special sign to commemorate the occasion.)
Still, to this day, I remember Caitlin going on a delivery at 11 pm and coming back 20 minutes later ready to give the twins that bath I had asked her to help me with. I never saw Caitlin sitting in the nurses’ station. She was always at the bedside with us and with the other babies she was taking care of. She was the most involved nurse we saw at Prentice. Because of that, when Caitlin said that the twins would do great at home and but I was terrified to take them off their monitors, I knew she was right. Every minute of Caitlin’s 12-hour shift was spent going on deliveries, helping parents and other nurses, but mostly, just being there with the babies. Caitlin’s support continued once we got home. She would check in and send texts of encouragement. She even told us numerous times, “If you need a break, give me a call and I’ll be over in 5 minutes to watch the twins so mom can take a nap.” Caitlin Golota is an amazing, nurse, advocate, and friend. There is no one more deserving of this award.
We were so lucky to have Caitlin become
Stella’s only primary nighttime nurse
by Lindsay Bertoncini
We were so lucky to have Caitlin become Stella’s only primary nighttime nurse. When she was born it was really important that I be there when the doctors and residents did their rounds. I arrived at Prentice around 8:30am and left around 5:30-6pm. I never really got a chance to see any of the nighttime nurses. When Caitlin’s friend, Kara, became one of Stella’s primaries she said she would ask her good friend if she wanted to be on “Team Stella.”
We are so incredibly happy that she accepted. I felt comfortable knowing Caitlin was with Stella. She left me notes about her night and made crafts such as a flower pot with Stella’s handprints on it. Caitlin is kind, caring, and full of life. Once I started coming to the hospital a little later in the morning and staying longer at night, I got to know her so much better. She always came in with a smile and was truly excited to see Stella. She even gave me her phone number so I could send pictures and updates when she headed out of town. Caitlin was a perfect fit for our family and our daughter. I couldn’t imagine going through this whole process without someone like her.