Michelle Pusatera has been a staff nurse on the inpatient general pediatric unit at UI Health since 2001. I believe that Michelle’s patient advocacy, teamwork skills, and community outreach make her an exemplary candidate for the DAISY Award.
Michelle was my preceptor in my student nurse extern program. As a preceptor, Michelle was inspiring, patient and enthusiastic about educating nursing students. She took the time to fully explain all aspects of care and answer my questions. She worked hard to ensure that I had a rich experience.
Michelle was inspired to join the National Association for Down’s Syndrome (NADS) shortly after her son was born with Down’s Syndrome in 2010. Her professional and personal experiences led her to believe that an educational gap existed in the nursing and medical curriculum about how to compassionately inform families that their child will be born with a congenital disease. As a member of NADs, Michelle serves as a healthcare mentor, parent support/educator, and member of the Board of Directors. Each summer, she lectures medical and nursing professionals on how to compassionately and accurately discuss the Down’s Syndrome diagnosis with expecting parents.
In addition, Michelle currently serves as a parent educator and parent support in the NADS organization for eight families. She meets with the expecting parents to gain an understanding of the family’s social situation and their expected newborn’s other comorbidities. Michelle then matches the family up with another family who have a child with similar comorbidities. Michelle hosts both families at her home so that they can discuss expectations and establish a mutual supportive relationship.
As a nurse on 5W pediatrics, Michelle leads by example and serves as a champion for using respectful and compassionate language when speaking with families who have children with chronic and congenital illnesses. Her professionalism and calm demeanor puts family members at ease and helps them recognize that they truly have a professional support system on 5W pediatrics.