Student profile: Mckenzie Duchateau
When Mckenzie Duchateau’s brother, Brady, was 3 months old, he was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy and scoliosis. It was then that Duchateau honed her desire and ability to care for those with disabilities or illness. From a young age, she would help her mom care for Brady by giving him formula feedings through his gastrostomy tube (G-tube), helping with medications or simply comforting him.
“I always had the nurturing and caregiver traits to me since my brother was born, which gives me a certain level of comfort dealing with people and children from every background,” she said.
Mckenzie is from Green Bay and attended Preble High School. Before coming to Bellin College as part of the 15-month nursing program, she attended University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and graduated with a biomedical science degree and chemistry minor.
Duchateau had the opportunity to experience healthcare from the patient’s family perspective while her brother was seeing the necessary professionals for his conditions growing up and helped her observe the impact a nurse can have on a patient and their family. When Brady was 13, he passed away unexpectedly.
“Being around my brother at Children’s Hospital impacted me by showing me what impact nurses and healthcare workers not only have on their patients but treat the families as their patients and priorities as well which has pushed me to want to give my patients and their families that same care.”
While any patient in need of help interests Mckenzie, pediatrics has a special place in her heart.
“With my nursing degree my top priority is to impact all my patients’ lives and give my all every single day for them,” she said. “My other hope is to work in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) for some time in my career. During my first day of pediatrics clinical this semester, I had a patient that reminded me so much of my brother and I knew this field is exactly what I am meant to be in.”
Mckenzie will likely still be facing the COVID-19 pandemic currently facing the nation after graduating next spring. She is ready to answer the call for the community.
“Being in a hospital during a pandemic shows that nurses are a backbone and support for the community in uncertain and scary times,” she said. “Nurses go to work everyday and although the outside world may be crazy around them, they try to bring peace to these patients and support them through these hard times. This is the profession to be in and great job security.”