Partners in Hope and Healing: St. Mary’s Hospital and RMHC

March 21st, 2024

Research shows – and experience proves – that reducing the emotional and financial barriers so families can stay near their hospitalized child helps the entire family heal. There is no better example than on the third floor of SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital in Madison. Just steps from the NICU, the Ronald McDonald Family Room provides families with a comfortable respite without stepping outside the hospital. This mission would not have been possible without the hospital’s dedicated healthcare team, which brings our purpose to life.

Jessica Coursen is an antepartum nurse at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Madison, who goes above and beyond to share the Ronald McDonald Family Room with her patients. For some families, this dedication is admirable, yet for others, it is life-changing.

On day one of their admission, Coursen immediately shows her patients the Ronald McDonald Family Room, gives them a tour, and assures them they know the resources available. “Women go from tears to joy in that one stop. It truly is a beautiful thing,” Coursen shared.

Recently, she relayed a heartfelt experience. About a year and a half ago, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, four women were admitted to long-term care. Worried for their well-being during an unsettling time, she came up with a plan to bond the mothers-to-be using the Family Room as a home base, allowing them to share their experiences and relax in order to heal. “It was one patient’s birthday, and she was craving apple crisp. So, I brought the ingredients, and we made apple crisp in the Family Room kitchen to celebrate. The environment, the staff…it was one love-filled experience that I will never forget.”

The Ronald McDonald Family Room at SSM Health St. Mary’s Hospital-Madison stands as a beacon of support and comfort for families navigating the challenges of their child’s medical treatment. This partnership continues to change lives because of the dedication of healthcare professionals like Jessica Coursen.