Difference Maker: Lanae Romann inspiring community with positive healthcare and support

Lanae Romann (Photo by Aaron Eisenhauer)

From a young age, Lanae Romann said she knew she wanted to work with infants in the NICU and be an advocate for patients who did not have their own voice yet. This desire for advocacy combined with her desire to inspire others has guided her to serve the Southeast Missouri community through health care.

Romann is the current director of nursing for maternal and child healthcare at Saint Francis Healthcare System in Cape Girardeau. Since she was a child, she has been surrounded by the world of health care, as her grandparents and aunt were hospital staff at Saint Francis.

She attended nursing school at Southeast Missouri State University, working at the Saint Francis NICU while completing her studies. After her graduation in 2008, she started as a secretary in the same department and worked her way up to her current leadership role, noting that she has held almost every position possible.

“I wanted to become a leader to inspire other people and help them grow,” Romann said.

Romann previously served as patient care manager of the Level 3 NICU before she started as director of nursing for maternal child healthcare in 2022.

“As a leader, sometimes I can get wrapped up in the day-to-day operations,” Romann said. “But if we don't inspire others to do more, there will never be those people who want to step up. It doesn't have to be being the next manager or director. It's even being a leader at the bedside.”

Romann said she wants to create a community that feels supported even after she is gone.

“The main thing I'm focused on in this community is building a sustainable future for Saint Francis, not just my service line as the maternal child nursing director, but also the future of the hospital,” Romann said.

Romann is currently involved in multiple programs that promote positive healthcare for the community. A project she personally created is Camp STAT, a week-long summer camp open to high school students where individuals can learn CPR, first aid and receive Stop the Bleed training.

“Our idea of Camp STAT was that we get to these students when they're in high school, and we start to give them a view of what is available in health care,” Romann said. “So [what they learn], that's all information and education, knowledge skills that we're putting back into the community. But it's all about inspiring them when they're young.”

In summer 2022, Camp STAT was open to 15 students. This summer, the program will be open to 30 students. Romann noted there was a waiting list for the program this year. She is hopeful it will continue to grow and help the community.

Another project Romann works closely with is the MO AIM initiative, a program that helps reduce the maternal mortality rate by providing resources and education to expectant mothers. Romann said she supports her leadership teams when they inform her what the mothers of the community need by providing resources in return.

“A big thing in this area is seeing what our community needs and what actions are really going to make the biggest difference here,” Romann said.

Romann also finds passion in her work through being a mother. She said her family is “her everything.”

“Being a parent myself, that's very important in maternal child [care]. So, I have that compassion,” Romann said. “I am a mother, I have been there. I've been through a lot of struggles that some of these mothers that we encounter have been through.”