Coronavirus Update:What patients and families need to know
Thomas Hougen, MD, FAAC, FAAP
Thomas Hougen, MD, FAAC, FAAP, first joined the Division of Cardiology at Children’s National Health System in 1989. After leaving Children’s to practice in a private setting for a few years, he returned to Children’s National in 2014. Since his return, Dr. Hougen is grateful to be working within a program that is so well known and highly rated for the work they’re doing with the pediatric population. “I’ve worked with my colleagues at Children’s National for a long time, and the collaborative, supportive relationship that we’ve built over the years is an outstanding benefit of working here.”
“I’ve always thought that you should feel connected to your place of work and share in the responsibility of caring for the work environment, like you would your own home.”
Wherever Dr. Hougen is working, he treats it as his home. “I’ve always thought that you should feel connected to wherever you work and share in the responsibility of what goes on there, like you would your own home.” To him, this extends to more than just aspects of clinical care, but also includes providing good communication between the organization, the doctor and patients, and addressing any existing issues and barriers.
Dr. Hougen is passionate about building a relationship with the child by getting on their eye level. “I literally try to get on the child’s level, by sitting on a tiny chair in the waiting room playing with them while I introduce myself.”
“I try to be as empathetic as possible by relating to families as best as I can.”
Empathy and objectivity are key components to how Dr. Hougen supports families and patients during a trying time. “I try to be as empathetic as possible by relating to families as best as I can, without ever saying ‘I know what you’re going through,’ because it’s untrue. I don’t know exactly how they’re feeling, but I do my best to help them through it,” Dr. Hougen says.Remaining objective is also important when discussing the patient’s care with the patient and their family. “It’s important to communicate so we make sure families and patients understand the cardiac condition, treatment, and care in such a way that the details of the condition won’t overwhelm them and hopefully leads to a better understanding.”
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