Surviving a horrific skiing accident made Katie LaPierre a better nurse

On March 25, 2021 nurse Katie LaPierre crashed down a steep embankment while skiing in the Berkshires. His body – inside and out – was essentially broken.

His back, neck, pelvis and both shoulder blades were fractured. His liver and spleen were lacerated and his left kidney no longer works. Knocked out in the fall, she was rushed to Hartford Hospital, where she underwent pelvic reconstruction.

In all of this, what has remained intact is the 25-year-old’s willpower – her determination to walk again, to be independent, to walk down the aisle at her next wedding and return. in the emergency department of Backus Hospital where she worked for 12 hours. changes.

Mission(s) accomplished. Katie returned to light duty at Backus last August, married in October of her own accord and returned to the emergency department full-time late last year. She currently works three 12-hour night shifts per week. She regularly garners rave reviews from patients on Press Ganey.

“Of all the times I’ve been to Backus on any ward, nurse Kathryn LaPierre was the best I’ve ever had and if there was an EXCELLENT rating it wouldn’t be enough,” said writes the last satisfied customer.

Being horribly injured, undergoing major surgery and recovering in Hartford Hospital, then seven weeks as an inpatient at a rehabilitation center before embarking on weeks of home rehabilitation with Hartford HealthCare Rehabilitation Network, a said LaPierre, made her a better nurse. It also made her a great patient, said Michael Liguore, Enfield site supervisor for the Hartford Healthcare Rehabilitation Network.

“Katie was a rock star while in rehab with us,” Liguore said. “She brought contagious positive energy to every treatment session and overcame every obstacle she encountered. You could tell nursing was in her DNA as she wanted to help those around her as well as herself. She encouraged other patients to be motivated and optimistic about their own recovery, creating an environment of success and drive She left a positive impact on all of us here, patients and clinicians, and it was a pleasure to have it in our office.

What LaPierre now brings to her job is “a different understanding of all the little things that really go a long way,” she said. “Being the patient was very eye-opening. When a nurse takes the time to talk to someone who might be lonely or in pain, it goes a long way.

In the emergency room, she also understands better how confusing it can be for a patient brought to the emergency room.

“The operation of ED can be a whirlwind,” she said. “Now I really know how to explain to patients how things work and what’s going to happen and then what’s going to happen next. I think I’m more fully empathetic now.

She felt fortunate to receive care from her colleagues at HHC, first at Hartford Hospital and then at home in Windsor Locks through the Enfield rehabilitation team.

“I wouldn’t trade the care I received,” she said. “They communicated with me, they communicated with my family, they made sure we all understood what was going on. They were amazing and thorough.

Having only been a registered nurse for a few years, LaPierre isn’t slowing down. She is currently enrolled in a nurse practitioner program at Elms College. And speaking of not slowing down – when asked if she plans to ski again, LaPierre has a quick and easy answer: “Yes.”


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