There will be a time in your life when you will need a nurse.

Jimmy Rosasco ’13 knew he was going to have to have surgery, but he had no idea who his nurse would be at Loyola University Medical Center. When his family found out his nurse was an alum of Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing, it gave them a sense of relief—a Redbird taking care of a fellow Redbird.

Five years ago, Rosasco knew he was going to need orthognathic jaw surgery, even after having braces and two expanders. He had to be put into braces six months before the surgery and had many appointments and tests beforehand. This surgery entails cutting out the upper teeth and gum area/upper jaw, shaving part of the sinus cavities and bone to realign, breaking the bottom jaw to fit into the new position of the upper jaw, and then screwing them together.

Rosasco’s surgery in February 2013 took seven hours, and there were complications. Rosasco’s left upper jaw continued to bleed, so the decision was made to keep him intubated and unconscious for an extra day and a half.

“He did not look good after the surgery,” said his mother, Trisha Rosasco. “He was extremely swollen, his mouth filled with gauze, a ventilator in his nose, tubes coming out of his mouth, and a compression bandage around his entire face, pushing the swollen area even more into the cheeks.”

The second day was long and excruciating for the family. It took from 6 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. to get him off the ventilator.

Rosasco after surgery

Rosasco after surgery

Through all of this, Jennifer Mangiantini, B.S.N. ’07, his nurse, took unbelievable care of him.

“She was extremely calm and kept me from losing it,” said Trisha Rosasco. “Having a child, even though he was 22, on a ventilator looking so helpless and uncomfortable is the worst feeling I have known to date.”

Mangiantini not only took care of Rosasco, but also his family. She helped them stay calm and accommodated his sisters and parents while he was in the ICU.

“She gave exemplary care to our son,” said Rosasco. “She made sure he did what he needed to do, and I appreciated how she handled herself and how she spoke with and cared for my son. We should have known she was an Illinois State alum because of how capable and intelligent she was.”

When Rosasco could finally talk and comprehend where he was, he found out both he and Mangiantini were Redbirds. He was released from the hospital and although he is still healing, he feels great.

“I look forward to visiting Jen in the future as a fellow alum, instead of a patient,” he said.

Mangiantini told the family that nurses see their patients at their worst in the ICU unit, and rarely get to see the good outcomes.

“I haven’t seen this type of post-operative patient before, because his complications were so rare,” she said. “I’m happy Jimmy’s recovery is going well, and it will be nice to see him and his family again.”