Alum Provides Inside Look at “Other Side of the Rainbow” as Keynote Speaker for Rainbow Babies

Kerry Doyle Christy '04 decided while at Gilmour that she would like to pursue a career in nursing. After a senior project shadowing doctors and nurse practitioners at University Hospitals, she headed to Boston College’s Connell School of Nursing, where she graduated with a bachelor of science in 2008. She then moved back to Cleveland and started working in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. After working for four years in the ICU, she decided to pursue her master’s degree at the University of Akron while continuing to work in the ICU.

At the time, the University of Akron offered one of only seven dual certification programs in the country. Kerry graduated with her master’s in the science of nursing in both primary and acute care pediatrics and began working as a nurse practitioner with Rainbow’s pediatric surgery team, where she has been for the last seven years.

Kerry and her husband, Tom Christy, welcomed their first child, Claire, in April 2015. It was in August 2017 that Kerry’s roles of mom and healthcare provider collided. Kerry was pregnant with her second child and was scheduled for a routine OB checkup.

During the visit, the doctor became concerned with the baby’s heart rate and ordered more testing. Within an hour of arriving for her appointment, Kerry was whisked into an emergency c-section because the baby was in danger. There was no time to wait for her husband to arrive and, as she was being wheeled into the operating room, one of surgeons on her team arrived to accompany her into surgery. She awoke hours later to discover that she and Tom had a son and he was in the NICU, born six weeks early. 

The next four weeks were a roller coaster of emotion as their son, whom they named Patrick, initially made progress, but then developed a serious complication. Throughout their stay, Kerry and Tom were overwhelmed by the care their family received and credit Patrick’s eventual recovery to the staff’s remarkable professionalism, attentiveness and personalized approach. She is quick to point out that that level of care was not because she works there, but rather, is the way every patient and family is treated.

Today, Patrick is a healthy, BUSY almost 2-year-old. In her speech, Kerry said that her experience “on the other side of the Rainbow” as the mom of a patient changed her, ultimately making her a better nurse practitioner.

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