Kara Podjasek, NICU Nurse
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
Nominated by Lindsay Bertoncini and Tristan Lopez
For us, Kara was the wiser sister neither of us ever had…
by Tristan Lopez
Kara is one of the best NICU nurses we had the opportunity to work with. Anyone who has had the pleasure of working with Kara or knowing Kara can immediately see she is not only one of the most caring individuals will you ever meet, but also one of the most intelligent and skilled NICU nurses. Still to this day when I have a great picture of my twins or a funny story to tell, Kara is the first people to get that text. From the beginning, we loved Kara. She was always one of the people willing to help take one of our twins out for cuddle or kangaroo time even when she was taking care of another baby. Kara was never too busy to help any family in the NICU and always did it with that amazing smile from the photographs. Kara offered advice when we needed it, hugged us during the difficult days, and shared our excitement during the special occasions.
I remember the first time our son Diego let out a big cry from his incubator. Kara was the first one over to congratulate him on his vocalizations (and she was assigned to another baby that day). When the twins got their first bath, it was Kara we wanted to share that with. I know that Kara treated every baby she ever took care of as if they were the most important baby in the world. That was who Kara was. Kara did some of the most adorable photo shoots with our twins (we dubbed her Kara Baby Photography). Even as a busy day nurse, she always made the time to make the most creative milestone signs—many of which are still proudly displayed in our nursery. When things were difficult and we felt the frustration of the Brady watch, Kara was the one who explained to us that the twins were just not ready to come home and why they needed those few extra days to grow.
For us, Kara was the wiser sister neither of us ever had—she helped us to understand the importance of not rushing the process but she also comforted us when we were frustrated trying to have patience through it. Several weeks after getting to come home, one of our sons was admitted to Lurie Children’s Hospital for respiratory complications. Kara was the first person to come see him. That week at Lurie Children’s Hospital was even more stressful than our 74 days at the NICU, but Kara’s visit gave me what I needed to make it through. Her kindness and friendship will never be forgotten. Her skill as a nurse will be blessed and bestowed upon all the other babies in the NICU she ever has and will care for. Their lives will be changed for the better, just as she did with our twins.
From the very beginning of our journey, Kara felt like family. She cared for our daughter like she was her own. She was an advocate for her care and always there to explain terms and procedures when we had questions. She was confidant, calm, and reassuring. We always knew our daughter was in experienced, loving, hands. Kara also took the time to document our journey with crafts such as artwork containing our daughter’s hands and feet and pictures on her 100th day. Items that we will cherish forever. Kara will always have a place in our hearts and our family.