Stephanie Fradette
2021 Nurse of the Year Awards: Home Care, Northeast

Stephanie Fradette, BSN, RN-BC, CCRN

When it comes to compassionate care, BrightStar Care of Central Connecticut Director of Nursing Stephanie Fradette goes the extra mile – literally. When nominating her co-worker for Nurse of the Year, Kristi Steinfeldt shared the extraordinary lengths Stephanie went to in order to help a young woman attend the Ivy League school of her dreams in spite of an unexpected illness that required complex infusions. She also says that Stephanie goes out of her way to make any accommodations possible by managing caregivers’ needs and questions, and driving hours and miles to give infusions to clients when no other nurse is available. In spite of hurdles that would have stopped most people in their tracks, Stephanie consistently gets the job done with a smile on her face and an upbeat “will do” spirit without expecting any recognition. 

Nomination Letter

Written by Kristi Steinfeldt, Dir. Business Development and Client Services, BrightStar Care of Central Connecticut 

Stephanie Fradette is the epitome of the word compassion. She freely gives love and understanding to those hurting and in need. That is why I am nominating her for The Nurse of the Year Award for BrightStar Care®. Stephanie is our Director of Nursing (DON) for the Central Connecticut, CT branch office that I work for, as well as works the halls of St. Francis Hospital in Hartford as a night nurse watching over patients and even over the doctors and nurses who work alongside her.  

Stephanie does not just demonstrate compassion for patients and their families, but her caregivers and colleagues as well. Any time a coworker or caregiver needs assistance with a difficult situation or even just a voice of calm and certainty, Stephanie is there without complaint and with a willingness to help. She genuinely loves what she does, and it shows through her enthusiasm to educate others in a way that makes them feel accomplished and competent. When any coworker is going through a difficult time or has an emergency, she goes out of her way to make any accommodations possible, by wearing many hats where she assists with staffing, human resource issues, clients who need a visit for reassurance and a change in their care plan, managing caregivers’ needs and questions, and literally driving hours and miles to give infusions to clients when no other nurse is available to perform the task. She interacts with patients and their families and is always there for everyone.  

Never have I heard her turn away anyone saying she is too tired or too busy to give to someone who asked for her time or expertise. Her energy knows no bounds, her work ethic is unmatched, all while managing two elementary-aged children and planning her own wedding. I even called her one evening to assist me with my understanding of a crisis that my daughter was sent to the emergency room for. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I was unable to be with her, and I started to panic when the doctor began talking about neurological testing. Even though it was late at night, Stephanie took my call, clarified the information for me and managed to calm me down. Every bit of information was not only accurate, but she was able to even predict the outcome. There is no punch-out clock for her compassion and her ability to go above and beyond for patients and their families, caregivers, and coworkers. She exhibits the true meaning of a modern Florence Nightingale with a smile on her face and an upbeat, not just a “can do” attitude, but a “will do” spirit all the while going unnoticed without expectation of recognition. There is no one I have known in my entire career working in the field of healthcare who is more deserving of an award rewarding compassion in nursing. 

Stephanie deserves all the recognition for being an exceptional nurse and someone that I, and many others, look up to as a true compassionate leader with a love for what she does. To impress upon you the type of compassionate nurse that Stephanie is, we had a college-aged girl who had her future ahead of her until she found out that she would be unable to attend a local Ivy League school that she had put all of her hard work, hopes and dreams towards, due to a rare autoimmune disorder that she had suddenly been diagnosed with. She had to be treated at one of the most prestigious hospitals in the country, Yale New Haven Hospital due to the complicated and time-consuming infusion that she would require. This young woman was heartbroken to learn that she would not be able to attend college, and definitely would not be able to live on campus and enjoy all the exciting social gatherings and educational opportunities that would normally be available to her. Not only was she devastated by this sudden news, but her parents were as well. The only glimmer of hope the doctors gave her was if there was an outside health care agency that would provide this infusion, it might be possible to attend college. They doubted that there would be a nurse who could do such an infusion who would have such expertise and knowledge, as well as be able to handle the intense complications it could entail and the time it would require to perform such an infusion. Her parents resolved that their daughter would attend college and enjoy all of the exciting opportunities that living on the college campus would offer her.  

As they set out to find a nurse with an agency that could perform this infusion, they found the search to be long, arduous and disappointing as they were turned down by multiple agencies and nurses. The parents and their daughter had almost lost hope until they came across our Stephanie at BrightStar Care of West Hartford. When she was informed of the situation and researched what this infusion would entail, Stephanie not only said I’ll do it, but tell me when and where. After hearing the desperation of the parents just wanting a normal college life for their daughter, all Stephanie could think about was how young this girl was and she was going to do everything within her power to let this family know that there was hope and the daughter would have her life back, because she was going to do the infusion herself. This was no easy or ordinary infusion, as it involved mixing 56 vials and an 8-hour long infusion. When Stephanie felt she was unable to mix all the vials herself, she rallied together the assistance of other nurses that she worked with at St. Francis Hospital. Stephanie was determined that she was going to give this young woman her life back. 

Not only did Stephanie complete the infusion, with the respect of the doctors at Yale New Haven Hospital, but this young woman was able to attend that Ivy League school and live on campus, all to the joy and gratitude of these parents and her daughter. Stephanie even followed up with her and her family to see how she was doing in college and made sure she was enjoying all the things that life had to offer a normal and healthy college-aged girl. Stephanie gave this young woman her life back. She is enjoying college life, excelling in her studies, and living her life to the fullest. It was Stephanie’s mix of compassion, will-do attitude, and unmatched expertise that gave this young woman her life back. However, if one was to say such words, she’d say, in her humble way, “it was the right thing to do.” I know what the “right thing to do” is, it’s to nominate this kind and humble, vivacious, saint of a nurse, who is a leader in our organization and who exemplifies compassion and humility. It’s an honor to say she is my coworker and friend, and what a privilege it is to nominate Stephanie Fradette for The Nurse of the Year Award. Thank you for your consideration.