During National Nurses Week, Brigham and Women’s Hospital celebrates all 3,600 of our nurses, including the Essence of Nursing Award recipient and honorees.

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Katherine Belategui, BSN, RN, CNRN

Neurosciences Intermediate Care Unit, Braunwald Tower 12B

Katherine Belategui

Katie Belategui

Katherine Belategui, BSN, RN, CNRN, isn’t one to shy away from challenges. Whether it’s COVID-19 or the process of learning to administer chemotherapy for neurosciences patients, she is always ready to problem-solve and learn.

Two years ago, Belategui was helping to lead the implementation of a unit-based chemotherapy program to enable neurosciences patients who need chemotherapy to remain on the neurosciences unit.

Belategui told her nursing director, Mary Pennington, MSN, RN, that the most difficult part of learning chemotherapy was that it was “an unknown” for nurses on the unit at the time.

“Katie projects vision and positivity and truly is a transformational leader,” said Pennington. “She empowered staff to learn how to administer chemotherapy, and now we have a waiting list for nurses who want to be trained.”

Belategui has been approaching the COVID-19 pandemic with her signature positivity and by focusing on caring for her patients’ physical and emotional needs, despite the many challenges. “The pandemic has brought so much uncertainty, fear and stress into our lives, but I am so grateful to come to work and care for our patients,” she said. “It gives me purpose, hope and promise.”

Since the pandemic began, Belategui has tried to spend as much time as possible with her patients so they don’t feel alone.

“I think I’ve grown even closer to my patients during this challenging time because their need for human connection is greater than ever,” she said. “I remind them that they are not alone and that we are in this together.”

When speaking with patients’ loved ones over the phone, Belategui always makes sure to ask them how they are coping emotionally. “I talk with them about how they are caring for themselves during this time while assuring them I am taking care of their loved ones,” she said. “Lately, we have been using FaceTime to enable patients to speak with their family members, and they all love doing that. But I can’t wait for the day when our visitors can return!”

Katherine Belategui

Responding to the crisis has required tremendous teamwork, she said. “On 10CD/12B, we consider ourselves a family, and during challenging times, we stick together,” Belategui said. “I am humbled by my colleagues’ tremendous work ethic and willingness to jump into any situation.”

She notes that nurse-led wellness initiatives that have taken place on the unit over the past year have helped the team to prioritize self-care and well-being. “We’re thankful for our wellness committee’s hard work because it is helping us all to get through these tough times,” she said.

Katherine Belategui was nominated for the Essence of Nursing Award by her nursing director Mary Pennington, MS, RN, with letters of support from Sarah Beth Thomas, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNRN, SCRN, professional development manager, and wound ostomy nurses Diane Bryant, MS, RN, CWOCN, and Mary Willis, MS, RN, CWOCN.