A front row seat: Affecting change for the better

Marisa Weaver, BSN

For Marisa Weaver, BSN, being a pediatric nurse allows her to witness life-altering moments that others only hear about.

“Whether it’s treating a traumatic injury, resecting a tumor, or mapping seizures, I see life-saving care in real time,” says Weaver, neurosurgery team lead in the pediatric operating room (OR). “It’s a privilege that I get to scrub in on these cases and have a front row seat to see a child’s life change.”

Making the choice

Soon after her college graduation, Weaver came to UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital.

“My grandfather would be so proud that I followed a dream and persevered," she says. "My mom and grandma tell everyone, and I mean everyone, that I work at a nationally-ranked children’s hospital.”

For Weaver, one benefit of working as a pediatric OR nurse is her set schedule. While other nursing units may have flex schedules, Weaver works set days and hours.

There’s also plenty of opportunities to advance, says Weaver. Within three years of joining UI Health Care, Weaver was named the neurosurgery team’s lead nurse in the pediatric OR.

“I work closely with neurosurgeons and review the entire care plan for each child to determine what is needed for each specific case,” she says.

Marisa Weaver as a child, listening to her grandfather's heart with a stethoscope
A young Marisa Weaver listens to her grandfather’s heart with a pretend stethoscope.

Making a difference

Weaver has always had an interest in a health care career. When she was around eight years old, her grandfather developed cancer, and she saw firsthand how he was cared for by family members, doctors, and nurses.

“That brought the passion out in me to care for others,” she says. “One time at the hospital, the nurses gave me a surgical outfit to wear. I also had a pretend stethoscope, and my mom took a picture of me listening to my grandpa’s heart.” 

“As a nurse, there are so many opportunities to make a difference, no matter at what level or in which department,” she notes. “I’m not buttonholed into one field of nursing because there’s so much variety.”