Fran Bracken

June 21, 2021
Fran Bracken, a certified hyperbaric technologist and respiratory therapist at UCHealth Poudre Valley Hospital, helps patients inside, and out, of the hospital. Photo by Kati Blocker, UCHealth.

Kindness extends beyond hospital walls

For 20 years, Fran Bracken, a certified hyperbaric technologist and respiratory therapist, has comforted patients as they undergo treatment in the HBO chamber – an experience that can make them anxious.

“These patients can be quite ill so we make sure they are comfortable in the (hyperbaric) chamber,” Bracken said. “They are giving up control to go into the chamber, but I always tell them: ‘Even though I’m out here and you are in there, you are still in charge.'”

By learning more about her patients’ lives outside of treatment, she gains their trust, as she did with Beverly Francque, 81. After battling cancer, Francque learned that she needed to receive hyperbaric oxygen therapy to treat soft tissue radionecrosis, a condition that occurs when radiation exposure kills soft tissue, preventing it from regenerating normally. Francque knew nothing about HBO treatment, and she was scared when she arrived at PVH early one morning in October 2020.

Francque said Bracken instantly calmed her fear.

“She’s one of God’s children,” Francque said. “She really has the spirit of an angel.”

Not only did Bracken’s compassionate care put Francque at ease, Bracken also showed Francque kindness outside of appointments.

Francque’s appointments were scheduled before valet services started. On cold and icy days, Francque feared falling. Bracken made sure Francque made it to her car safely by delivering her there in a wheelchair.

“She’d go in the snow and cold just to make sure I got to my car safely,” Francque said.

Bracken’s kindness didn’t end there. When Francque mentioned she was new to town and didn’t know where to go for a vehicle emissions test, Bracken stepped in again to help.

“After she got off work that night, it was dark, she took a dry run and came back the next day and gave me a detailed map of how to get there,” Francque said. “After I finished treatment, I drove straight there and didn’t get lost, which is unusual because I’m always getting lost.

“She must love her job to go above and beyond the way she does,” Francque said.

Her coworkers agree.

“These are the little things that Fran does daily,” said Kathy Glenn, nurse manager.  “I honestly think she works overtime thinking about how she can help others have a better day.”

 

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About the author

Kati Blocker has always been driven to learn and explore the world around her. And every day, as a writer for UCHealth, Kati meets inspiring people, learns about life-saving technology, and gets to know the amazing people who are saving lives each day. Even better, she gets to share their stories with the world.

As a journalism major at the University of Wyoming, Kati wrote for her college newspaper. She also studied abroad in Swansea, Wales, while simultaneously writing for a Colorado metaphysical newspaper.

After college, Kati was a reporter for the Montrose Daily Press and the Telluride Watch, covering education and health care in rural Colorado, as well as city news and business.

When she's not writing, Kati is creating her own stories with her husband Joel and their two young children.

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