Mary Fran Graunke, NICU Nurse
Prentice Women’s Hospital
Nominated by Lindsay Bertoncini
My daughter Stella was born at 24w5d weighing only 1lb 11 oz. I was scared and nervous about her future and how long she would remain in the hospital. I knew friends who had babies in the NICU but now that Stella was there, I didn’t know what to expect. One of the nurses told me about choosing a primary nurse for our daughter but I didn’t know how to go about asking one of them. Mary Fran signed up to be our daughter Stella’s first primary without even meeting us.
Being a mother herself, Mary Fran took Stella under her wings like a mother would. She cared for her like she was her own and checked in with me when she wasn’t working. We formed a special relationship and spent the days in the NICU talking about our families, travel, and challenges I was facing with my step-children. One day, while I was in the room pumping, Stella stopped breathing. Mary Fran tried her best to help but knew she was going to need assistance.
She called for a Code Assist and within seconds the room was filled with nurses and doctors. Mary Fran kept her cool and reassured me that Stella was going to be ok. I was so grateful to have her there to comfort me during such a traumatic and difficult time. Mary Fran is caring, confident, and motherly. She was an advocate for my daughter and she will continue to hold a place in our hearts.