Ellen Vandevender, NICU Nurse
Northwestern Prentice Women’s Hospital
Nominated by Alexandra Aaronson
Some families don’t get to know their night nurses well, but that was never going to be the case with Ellen…
by Alexandra Aaronson
Ellen was our night primary NICU nurse. Some families don’t get to know their night nurses well, but that was never going to be the case with Ellen. Regularly she would leave us notes and gifts for Julian. She is an excellent artist and made him a gorgeous NICU success calendar which she would regularly add to whenever he met a new milestone. She would often buy him cute toys or slippers if she happened to be out and something made her think of him. It was so obvious how much she cared about our son. Other nurses would joke that Julian was her “boyfriend” and stories were passed around that she would try to trade slots with other nurses if she happened to not be assigned to him one night. After hearing about all of this we had to spend time with her.
Ellen is one of the sweetest, gentlest people I’ve ever met. She was so patient and loving with our son, going out of her way to hold him
Ellen is one of the sweetest, gentlest people I’ve ever met. She was so patient and loving with our son, going out of her way to hold him if she had time or hunt around the NICU for cute sheets and blankets for his incubator. She always had faith that he would do well, even when he came in at 27 weeks, under 2 lbs. Even then she began finding him outfits and toys for “when he got bigger”. Knowing she had faith in him made me feel less worried about how he would do – if his nurses believed in him I should too! She took such careful care of our son and took time out of her shifts to talk to me on the phone to give me updates so I would be able to sleep soundly, knowing Julian was in good hands.
I am so grateful to Ellen and she is worthy of praise. She is an exceptionally caring, smart and patient nurse and helped us get through a very difficult time with her joyful attitude and numerous kind gestures.