Now more than ever, Independence Blue Cross recognizes the invaluable role that nurses play in caring for our families and communities. To show our appreciation, we are honoring outstanding nurses in our region through the second annual Celebrate Caring campaign. As part of the campaign, we’re highlighting how our winners and honorees are making a difference in the community through compassion and superior care.
Michaela Corcoran is a nurse at Pediatric Specialty Care (PSC), a long-term care facility for children with complex medical conditions. Michaela goes above and beyond to make her patients feel loved and supported. Before the pandemic, her nominator wrote that the children at PSC “cannot go a day without hugging their favorite nurse, Michaela.”
In this interview, we’ll get to know more about Michaela and what makes her an outstanding nurse.
IBX: What made you decide to go into nursing?
Michaela: I became interested in nursing when I lost both of my grandmothers at a young age. They suffered from different diseases, but their outward projection of hope, love, and bravery never wavered. It was the way they carried themselves and embraced each day — despite the havoc caused by disease — that made me interested in the medical field. I wanted to help others like my grandmothers during the most difficult times in their lives. I wanted to have an impact on those in need of love, laughter, support, and advocacy.
IBX: Why did you go into pediatric specialty care?
Michaela: My first jobs were in child care, and I always found joy in being around kids. Watching them develop their personalities and becoming individuals is special to witness and be a part of. I aspire to bring joy and happiness to all the kids I work with. In everything I do, I hope to create an environment of mutual respect and, for the kids at PSC, a sense of normalcy that helps them enjoy life despite its challenges.
Being a nurse at PSC is about how I can best improve my patients’ quality of life. They’ve faced more hardship in their first few years than some of us face in a lifetime. I hope every day I can bring joy to the unit floor and find a way to make every child I interact with understand how strong they are and feel the pride and love surrounding them. I hope I can help create a place where these children feel safe and can embrace their childhood fully in the moments they are able to. Above all, I hope I can help create an environment that allows these kids to embrace their differences and feel recognized for all they’ve achieved so far.
IBX: What does your role look like, and why are you passionate about what you do?
Michaela: PSC is a long-term care facility. That means I’m still caring for some of the patients I met when I started there two years ago. Caring for my patients goes beyond their medical needs. It’s also based on their needs as a child who requires love, patience, acceptance, encouragement, and understanding to thrive and grow in the world around them. We’re not just nurses. We’re teachers, friends, playmates, and extended family. Sometimes, we’re an anchor of consistency in the lives of children who have little control over what’s happened to them up to this point in life.
IBX: What impact has COVID-19 had on your role as a nurse?
Michaela: With much of the world around us temporarily paused, the medical staff has worked tirelessly to reestablish some sense of normalcy. With our kids not being able to leave our facilities or see their family in the recent months, it’s required a great deal from our staff to fulfill the roles in our children’s day-to-day lives that have been impacted by this change. Despite the difficulties faced during this time, we have been able to maintain an environment that encourages growth, love, support, and hope for our kids.
IBX: What inspires you about your patients at PSC?
Michaela: In the short two years I’ve been a nurse with PSC, I’ve been lucky enough to share in moments of my patients’ medical marvel and revelation. I’ve watched as they far exceeded expectations set for them. I get to share in their big moments, like first words, first steps, first oral intake of food after years of using feeding tubes — even first independent breaths as they go off ventilators or breathing tubes. Their accomplishments never cease to amaze me, and I find myself being continuously blown away by what they are capable of. They are some of the toughest and bravest people I’ve ever met.