If home is where the heart is, Kim's home has been at Children's Medical Center Dallas for the last 15 years -- 13 as a parent and 2 as an RN. After losing one of her triplet sons who battled lung disease as a result of his prematurity, Kim earned her nursing degree. Now an RN in Cardiology, Kim is determined to provide parients and their families with the same experiences she received while spending many years here with her son.
"Children's Health has been such a big part of our lives, throughout our entire lives, so when we weren't here, it felt like a big piece was missing," Kim says. "It's been wonderful to come back to Children's Health. I've always said that it is our home, and to still be a part of my home is huge."
After 17 years at Children's Health, Dianne (left, pictured with coworker Courtney Lavender) made a big change when she became an Ambulatory Services Representative at the Rees-Jones Center for Foster Care. As the only clinic in North Texas dedicated exclusively to providing primary medical care to children living with foster parents, relatives or in a group home, the Center seeks to be a safe haven for a vulnerable population.
"A lot of times, the first time we see the kids in here, they seem unhappy and scared," Dianne says. "We let them look around and explore, and we see them easing up, feeling more comfortable, because they realize they're in a safe place."
"Being here has helped me to appreciate life in general," Dianne says. "If we can help somebody have a better day by smiling at them, giving them a warm greeting, bringing them some comfort, then that's what I want to do."
Since joining Children's Health in 2008, Lindsey, Advanced Practice Practitioner in the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD), has focused on connecting with patients and families and being a source of trust during a vulnerable time of their lives.
One defining conversation in her career happened when a patient mother inquired about finding a way for patients to leave their mark on the clinic. Knowing that some children spend a majority of their childhood there and based on conversations with her own child, she wanted to create a way to represent their time there, similar to a handprint wall.
"What resonated the most with me about that conversation is we may or may not have a wall with handprints, but what the kids don't realize is they make a mark on us as health care providers. We are better parents, friends, family members, providers, because of them. That's what motivates me every day," Lindsey concludes.
When asked what motivates her in her work as Respiratory Care Practitioner at Our Children's House, Ame says the answer is easy.
"My fuel is the kiddos," she says. "I love that I can develop long-lasting relationships with the families and get to know the caregivers on a personal level."
Ame's role extends beyond providing daily bedside care to patients. She is always exploring ways to educate patient families, such as creating custom education schedules for each patient, so that when they go home, their families feel fully capable of caring for them.
"My goal is to make it as easy as possible to attend training and simplify the process," Ame says. "It's all about putting ourselves in the parents' or even patients' shoes. We need to make sure that we take the extra step for our patient families."
Our Children's House has one of only a few inpatient pediatric feeding programs in the nation. It’s a place where children who have never eaten food by mouth can overcome their challenges and learn to eat on their own. Tracey, Intake Coordinator for the Feeding Program, gets to help make this therapy possible each day.
Since there are so few like it, the Feeding Program attracts families from outside the region. Tracey coordinates the details before they arrive, so that everything goes smoothly and plans are established for each patient. Tracey also directs Camp OCH, which gives patients the opportunity to participate in a summer camp where their care needs can be met.
"I dedicate my time to camp because I want to see families come together, where their kids don't look different than others. They are able to do the same activities that other children get to do and the families get to interact with each other," Tracey says.
As an RN in the chronic transfusion program at the Pauline Allen Gill Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD), Shelley is able to cultivate long-lasting relationships with her patients. When her patients come in for their check-ups and blood transfusions, Shelley treats their visits as family reunions.
“That’s a piece that I love so much about Children’s Health, she says. “In a way, I have another family.”
Shelley began her career at Children’s Health as a new nursing graduate in the in-patient General Pediatric Unit. During her seven years there, she explored different areas of the hospital and honed her nursing skills. After caring for several sickle cell patients, she knew her future was in the CCBD clinic.
“I feel thankful that I can be here and provide care for these patients,” Shelley says. “Children’s Health is a piece of who I am.”