Katie McManigal, NICU Nurse
Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital
Nominated by Audra Cronauer
Being admitted to the NICU is terrifying and life changing. We have a greater respect for every 14th floor worker after seeing all they truly do for patients and their families. Nursing is a tough job which requires hours on their feet tending to their patients, usually creating a unique relationship between them and the families, patients, and doctors. This can be emotionally draining as they serve as a buffer between the family grappling with something they have no control over and the doctors and nurse practitioners who must tend to numerous patients on the floor.
I am nominating Katie McManigal because she is an exceptional nurse that handled a tough job so seamlessly and is a true leader. She is one of those people that changed our lives and we cannot thank her enough for all she did for us and our son. Our son was born with a diaphragmatic hernia in November of 2015 and he spent 5 months in the NICU. Words cannot describe what Katie means to our family. She’s an amazing nurse. She is compassionate, smart, patient, and dedicated. Leaving the hospital without your child is difficult but with Katie tending to Aidan it made the experience easier. I never worried when she was around because I knew how much she loved him. She answered our endless questions, comforted us on the bad days, and celebrated with us on the good ones.
Katie possessed humility. As C.S. Lewis said, “Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.” She would go hours without so much as a bathroom break if Aidan needed her attention. This isn’t just a job to her and he wasn’t just a patient. She would check in on him on her days off. She recruited other nurses to sign on to be his primaries so Aidan could have more consistency in his care. If Aidan was fussy or struggling at the end of her shift, she would hold him while giving report. She’d stay after her shift ended constantly if she thought he needed extra attention. She involved us in his care from the get go and made sure we understood our options. I was so scared of all the tubes and monitors but Katie made sure we knew the purpose.
She is very respected by her colleagues and would offer suggestions at rounds of different things we could try because she knew what he was capable of when others weren’t sure because it was atypical. Even after discharge, she has kept in contact to check his progress. Katie would think critically, observe keenly, practice skillfully, but most of all she loved Aidan like her own. His story cannot be told without mentioning her. We thank God every day for her, and the nurses like her on the floor, but that’s why I am nominating her for this award because she served as our Shepard in a dark time that were above and beyond her nursing duties.