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I am delighted to welcome Mary Strenski to the podcast as we first met when my daughter, Mattea, was in the hospital. Nurses play such a huge role in supporting parents who have sick kids, and I’m excited to be able to share some words of wisdom from her today.

Mary is a Critical Care Nurse at Comers Children’s Hospital and has been a nurse for over 30 years. She started her career in the adult surgical ICU, then pivoted to the PICU, and now she supports nurses at Comers by helping them be the best nurses they can be with all the experience she’s gained over the years.

In our conversation, Mary shares some great advice to any parent with a child in a hospital. You’ll hear that they really understand how it can be a stressful situation for the parents with a kiddo in the hospital, how she builds a connection with the parents with her sense of humor, and to know that she’s making a difference brings her all the joy that she needs.

Key Takeaways with Mary Strenski

  • How nurses do their best to be honest with parents about what is happening with their child, with both good and bad news.
  • How the best nurses try to bring a bit of humor whenever possible
  • The importance of making sure that parents are also taking care of themselves, both physically and mentally, during a lengthy hospital stay.
  • How nurses do their best to make sure parents stay involved and can connect with their child as parents often feel excluded.
  • Find a nurse that you can connect with, and understand that you probably won’t build a connection with all them.
  • How most nurses appreciate insight and observations from parents, especially since parents have a better understanding of their child’s personality.
  • What the role of a primary care nurse is, and how you can request one to be assigned to your child.
  • Mary’s advice on how friends and family can help parents, especially with daily routines at home.
  • The challenges that Covid has created for supporting parents with children at the hospital.
  • The joy that nurses get from knowing that they can make a difference in someone’s life.

Mary Strenski Tweetables

  • “It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you don’t take care of yourself, then you’re not going to be able to take care of your child.” – Mary Strenski
  • “You have to find a nurse that you trust, and when they’re there, that’s when you go take a shower, that’s when you go home and take a nap, go get coffee or go for a walk.” – Mary Strenski
  • “When someone comes up to me and says that changed things for me, that gives me such joy. To know that I can make a difference in someone’s life, even if it’s something little, just being kind, just checking on them, that is having joy in the journey.” – Mary Strenski


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