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Typical Day at Children's

Read about the typical day of the nursing staff.
Children’s nursing team performs a range of tasks during any given day.

Carola Cerezo-Allen
  • Bedside Nurse in the Medical Care Unit (MCU) for two years
  • Currently works 3 days a week, with a 12-hour shift each day

As an inpatient bedside nurse in the Medical Care Unit (MCU), I am usually the first to know when a patient’s status changes. I frequently do patient assessments and use my critical and logical skills while working with doctors and residents. I also do advocacy work for Latino families who have a language barrier to ensure they receive the best possible care.

I arrive at work around 7 am and receive reports about my patients from the night nurse. I access lab reports, diagnoses and other information about my patients. I also check their medical charts. Typically I have about four patients.

Around 8 am, I visit my patients, check their IVs, breathing patterns, and oxygen levels. I introduce myself to family members whom I haven’t met yet. I participate in bedside rounds with a doctor, resident, case manager, and representative from social services if necessary.

Throughout the day I assess my patients’ conditions, because a child’s status can change quickly. I administer medications by calculating the appropriate dosage based on age and weight and ensure it is taken properly. I also help discharge my patients when they are ready to go home.

My job is rewarding because I can see how much of a difference I make in children’s lives by working hard to improve their health.

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Kim Emrich

I usually arrive at work at 7 am, and receive my patient assignment and reports from the night shift nurses. Around 8 am I begin taking care of my patients, who range in age from 23 weeks gestation to about three months. Around 9 am I participate in rounds, where the medical team reviews an infant’s history and plan of care for that day. Typically I see between one and three patients.

In the NICU we deliver care to babies with critical illnesses, including sepsis and patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), referred to us from approximately 30 community hospitals.

During the day I take the babies’ temperatures and work with different kinds of ventilators and Nitric Oxide. I administer medication and blood products to the babies. But I also teach parents how to care for their baby when the family goes home.

My job is fast-paced with many babies and parents coming and going. I find it challenging to keep a professional distance from certain parents and not get too personally involved with any baby. It’s so rewarding for me when babies get to go home with their families. I am proud of what I do.

I have a lot of flexibility in my hours, and I love that I work as part of a team with a great group of people. If I ever need help, I know that I always have someone to back me up and provide support.

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Audrey Scully

  • Nurse in the Outpatient Neurology Clinic for 16 years
  • Currently works 5 days a week, with 8-hour shifts each day

I arrive at work between 7 and 7:30 am. That half hour is my administrative time, when I check voicemail and e-mail, and return calls as necessary. I then usually have a meeting of some kind, as I am on many hospital committees such as the Sedation Committee, Magnet Champions Committee, Performance Improvement Initiatives Committee, and Pharmacy Pyxis Committee.

Around 8 am I begin to prepare the clinic for patients. I walk through each examination room, bathroom and waiting area to make sure they are clean. From 8:30 am to 5:30 pm patients come in, and I take vitals signs and medical histories, order supplies, do paperwork, handle scheduling and referrals, and help with the flow of patients between rooms. I also assist with patient education, teaching patients and families about epilepsy, seizures, headaches, and other neurological issues. I also do sedation for outpatient testing and help physicians with research such as drug studies where children with disabilities are taught how to swallow medication.

We are a high volume outpatient clinic and I am the only registered nurse. We have more than 20 attending neurologists and four nurse practitioners. Even though I am constantly pulled in different directions, I love my job. I love my connection to the families, and that I have seen many patients grow from small children into adolescents and young adults. I also enjoy the interdisciplinary nature of my work, since it enables me to interact with several other divisions at the hospital.

For me, this is not just a job; it’s a very satisfying career.

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Kevin Wilson

  • Trauma Technologist in the Emergency Department for 25 years
  • Currently works 3 days a week, with a 12-hour shift each day

My typical day is, well, I don’t really have a typical day because I see anything and everything. Still, there are some predictable patterns to the types of emergencies that I deal with. I come into work at 11 am. In the morning I see a lot of babies with sepsis (an infection of the blood). Sometime there is a lull after that, which gives me time to make sure all of our patient rooms are properly stocked.

In the afternoon, I treat a lot of patients who come in with the usual run of pediatric emergency problems. Late afternoons and evenings, especially after 3 pm, tend to be the times when I treat trauma-related accidents. I see several big wheel and bicycle accidents, as well as pool accidents, in the summer months. In stormy weather I see many children brought here because of car accidents on the slick roads.

Every once in a while I see something really wild – literally – like when a teenager stole a snake from the National Zoo, took it on the Metro in a large trash bag, and subsequently was bitten. He was brought to the emergency department and almost lost his arm, but we treated him quickly and saved it.

I love my job because it’s exciting. You never know what’s coming through the doors. I like that I need to be able to think quickly on my feet about how to best treat a patient.

I think you have to be somewhat of an adrenaline junkie to enjoy working in the emergency department. You must be prepared to go from zero to 100 miles per hour in two seconds with your heart racing. You have to be ready for anything, but you also need to maintain a sense of calmness.

Working at the emergency department at Children’s is the most rewarding job that I’ve ever had. I cannot imagine myself doing anything else.

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