Stephanie Zero
May 2020
The Johns Hopkins Hospital
United States




Stephanie has always been a critical part of our PICU leadership team as long as I have worked here (8 years) whether she is at the bedside, in the charge role, or working as the nurse on our transport team. I am sure there have been hundreds of heroic examples of nursing all over the hospital and world with the COVID-19 pandemic, but I think Steph deserves special recognition.
At some point, it became clear that we in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit would be asked to care for critically ill adult patients. This is outside of the comfort zone for many and only added to the stress and anxiety we all were already feeling. Steph took it upon herself to be one of the main nursing drivers in the initial planning, and then completely committed and essentially made sure the entire nursing staff would be as prepared as possible on her own. Here are just some of the examples of things Stephanie did that I believe solidify her as an example of what nursing should be:
1. She came in on days off not expecting or asking to be paid. She consistently attempted to organize task forces to make sure we were prepared, and she never settled for how prepared we could be. Each extra day and time she was given, she utilized and made sure she completed more and more prep work and education for our staff.
2. Stephanie called into multiple zoom meetings, sometimes after working entire 12+ hour shifts in the MICU getting invaluable cross-training that would help guide us. She met with anyone and everyone needed in her "time off".
3. She took nurse after nurse to the "new" unit and made sure they felt comfortable with what the unit would be like, what they'd be expected to do, and what their PPE donning/doffing would look like.
4. She ordered supplies, organized and set up every room, helped create and distribute resource materials for our nurses, and basically did everything you could think of to help the nursing staff in the Pediatric ICU (all 150+ of us) be ready to take care of adult COVID positive critically ill patients.
I am so thankful that Stephanie stepped up for our unit and I think every single patient that we receive in this new unit will be safer and better cared for directly because of Stephanie Zero.