Stacey Blaufeux has been taking care of critically ill heart patients at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta for almost 25 years. Working in the cardiac intensive care unit can be a high-stress job.
“The kids are really sick; the families are really stressed. It’s an intense environment to work in,” Blaufeux said.
While she’s seen quite a few nurses burn out under those conditions, Blaufeux believes it is what she was meant to do. She loves the patients and their families, and says she works with a great team. “I believe I’m a lifer here. I can’t imagine working anywhere else,” she said.
Her sister Lisa Ofsie, who nominated her for Celebrating Nurses, sees the dedication Blaufeux puts into her job.
“She becomes part of their families and sees them sometimes from the time they are born well into their teenage and adult lives,” Ofsie wrote.
Some of these young patients Blaufeux also sees outside of the hospital at Camp Braveheart, a summer camp for kids with heart defects. She has been a volunteer clinician at the camp for the past 20 years. She also volunteers at Camp Kudzu, a summer camp for children with type 1 diabetes.
“I love the camps. Those are really important to me,” Blaufeux said. “It’s so nice to see the kids having fun and doing regular things and not being sick and in an ICU.”
At Camp Kudzu, Blaufeux has an opportunity to be a role-model. She has been a type 1 diabetic since age 13 and knows how lonely living with the disease can feel. Growing up, she never knew any other kids with diabetes so when she first went to camp as an adult volunteer it was “life changing,” she said.
Because of her own condition, plus her work as a nurse, she’s able to share her knowledge and experience with the campers “while showering them with love and affection,” her sister wrote.
Ofsie was the recipient of her sister’s nursing skills last year when she had to have a leg amputated. Despite having just gone through surgery herself, Blaufeux came to the hospital to provide care and advocacy for Ofsie. The experience built close bonds between the two sisters.
“I am so proud of the work she does and has been doing all these years,” Ofsie wrote.