Working in pediatrics can allow you to save not just a life, but a lifetime

Research shows that hospitals, such as Children’s National Hospital, an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet® recognized organization, where nurses feel empowered to achieve better patient outcomes and lower nursing turnover, do so through structures that support collaboration and innovation based on the best evidence. An example of such a structure is Children’s National’s Shared Nursing Leadership structure, a platform for nurses to share their expertise, partner with the healthcare team, and provide quality, personalized care to each child.

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“We understand the nuances that are often missed and work with families and our interprofessional colleagues for the best plans and outcomes for each individual patient,” said registered nurse Pamela S. Hinds, PhD, RN, FAAN. “This fosters a sense of trust.”

Nurses know each child

“Nurses are present 24/7 for patient and family support and along with the medical needs of each child, also learn social and family dynamics, developmental needs, concerns, and resource availability,” said registered nurse Jeanne R. Ricks, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, executive director of ambulatory nursing. 

Others on the Children’s National team respect the understanding that nurses gain from truly knowing their patients. Nurses work together with physicians and other interprofessional colleagues to best meet patient needs and maintain the hospital’s core values. “Our nurses exemplify the core values of the hospital, they are compassionate caregivers, committed to the art and science of nursing and connected to our patients, families, and communities as well as interprofessional teams” reflects Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer Linda Talley, MS, BSN, RN, NE-BC, FAAN.

“We align our thinking, activities, and impressions with each other to know each child—what matters to the child, what worries the child has—and then tailor our care to match the needs of each child,” said Hinds, a finalist for The Washington Post and American Nurses Association Star Nurses award. “We jointly discuss what knowledge we need in order to give better care in certain areas.”

“By truly knowing each child, nurses can detect early, subtle changes in a child, such as a slight delay in answering questions, that can correspond with significant changes in condition,” Hinds said. “I have seen this combination of nurse familiarity and knowledge work to identify an intracranial bleed that led to a rapid MRI scan and surgical intervention.”

Nurses collaborate with interprofessional partners

Collaboration builds a better work environment and better patient outcomes.

 “I collaborate and advocate with the medical and operations teams to meet patient needs and ambulatory goals while remaining true to our core values of compassion, commitment, and connection,” said Ricks, a finalist for the Washington Post and American Nurses Association Star Nurses award. “This has been demonstrated most recently with the COVID pandemic. We partner with our chief medical officer and our medical unit directors in supporting necessary medical care and treatment. We all work as allies and strive to reach consensus, navigating the CDC recommendations along with recommendations from our in-house experts.”

Families have appreciated quick responses to their concerns.

“I remember a patient who came to us from overseas because their home country had no treatment for their condition,” Hinds said. “Three hospitals in the United States offered the specific treatment. Children’s National was the only one who called the parents back. The parents were so grateful and also told me that our nurses were so bright and knowledgeable here.”

Only in pediatrics can you save a lifetime™

Serving children and building lasting relationships with patients and their families adds to job satisfaction.

“I’ve worked at several hospitals and what brings me back to Children’s National is the collegiality, the team work, and our overall mission to care for children, caring for the most vulnerable, caring for our future,” said Reneé Roberts-Turner, DHA, MSN, RN, NE-BC, a finalist for The Washington Post and American Nurses Association Star Nurses award, “The mission itself drives me. I get excited as I drive into our garage every day when I come to work.”

Nurses stay at Children’s National even when other hospitals might offer a better commute. Often, those who leave return.

“I have worked elsewhere and like so many, I am a boomerang employee,” Ricks said. “There is a commitment like no other to children from an organizational perspective. The mission and voice embody improving pediatric health care, leading in research, and advocacy. It is fostered in innovation and challenges the norm.”

Magnet® designation recognizes better outcomes

Children’s National Hospital also is one of the elite hospitals designated by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Magnet® institution, recognizing a commitment to excellence that leads to better patient outcomes.

Other recognition includes being ranked no. 7 nationally in the U.S. News & World Report Best Children’s Hospitals annual rankings 2020-2021 with seven additional specialties ranked in the top 10 and a no. 1 ranking in neonatology for four consecutive years.

Core values shine every day

The hospital’s core values of connection, commitment, and compassion shine through every day along with a culture that fosters innovation.

For example, Vicki Freedenberg, PhD, RN, electrophysiology nurse scientist, led research that showed that yoga, meditation, and peer support reduced stress associated with congenital heart conditions. The group, which began with teen patients and families, has expanded to include hospital staff. Results of the study were published in the journal Pediatric Cardiology.

“Being a teenager is hard enough, but being the only person you know with a potentially life-threatening heart condition can be devastating,” Freedenberg said. “These results indicate that teaching patients coping skills and connecting them with their peers can not only reduce their stress levels now, but also dramatically improve their responses to stressors for the rest of their lives.”

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