Monthly Archives: June 2013

Five Question Friday: Ingrid Arnold

If I were president of the hospital, I would send every patient a volunteer. — patient sibling

Meet Ingrid Arnold, volunteer coordinator at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

Ingrid Arnold

What is your day in Volunteer Services like at Children’s? Though there are some daily tasks (providing volunteers with assignments, managing our department’s social media channels, planning our next recognition event or training new volunteers), each day brings its own variety–which I love. During volunteer interviews, I always ask the applicants why they chose Children’s. Some come in with a definite reason–for example, brother was a patient here–while others find their reason during their volunteer journey. I know that I’ve done my job when volunteers take pride in having chosen Children’s as the recipient of their time and talents, and when they truly live and understand our mission of providing the best care to our patients and families. We have unit coordinators, nurses, child life specialists, doctors, and volunteer coordinators (smile) who were all once Children’s volunteers. That speaks volumes!

What drew you to Children’s? Children’s is such an incredible place. To nurture my love of kids and healthcare, I volunteered on the Children’s Minneapolis campus throughout high school. I knew after my first shift that I wanted to work here when I finished college. The staff at Children’s share a common goal: to get kids better. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that? We all have a role and work together to provide kids with the best medical care, emotional support, and developmental experiences possible. At Children’s we don’t just repair a cut or perform an appendectomy… we blow bubbles during an exam, provide healing through massage and music therapy, and have skilled volunteers to offer families a break!

What do you love most about working here? I have the pleasure of talking about Children’s and the incredible work that we do on a daily basis, whether in a volunteer interview, while training on the inpatient units, or at an orientation session. Giving back to the community is so important, and not only do I believe this, but Children’s does, too; I take great pride in that. I experience the act of volunteerism on a daily basis, and take pleasure in practicing it in my daily life. I enjoy helping at Children’s events, whether it be teaching kids about endurance at the Cystic Fibrosis Relay for Life Walk, serving lunch in the Ronald McDonald House, or talking about the services that we provide at the Baby Steps 3K. The opportunity to be a part of a kid getting well and leaving Children’s with a smile is the icing on the cake.

Do you have a favorite Children’s memory? As cheesy as it sounds, I make a rewarding memory every day–though there are a few that I will always remember. On one occasion, I spoke with a nurse who requested a volunteer for a baby whose parents needed to return to work; they were devastated to have to leave their baby. I introduced Mom to a wonderful volunteer, and watched Mom transition the baby from her arms to the volunteer’s. Mom left, wiped her eyes, put her hand on my shoulders and said, “Thank you.” She knew that her daughter was not only receiving the best medical care, but that she would be in the arms of a volunteer until Mom returned to the hospital after work.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was little, I wanted to be a pediatrician. I have always had a passion for working with kids and have been intrigued by healthcare. I remember watching ER weekly with my dad, and being glued to the TV for Rescue 911 and other emergency medicine type shows. As I grew up, the fevers, sutures and needles became less appealing (much easier when pretending on dolls as a little girl), but my passion for helping others and interacting with kids remained. I am thrilled that these passions led me to Children’s!

Perfect party summer app

These delicious curry-spiced grilled chicken skewers pair well with a sweet-and-tangy peanut sauce. Marinating the chicken strips overnight really imparts a ton of great flavor, and makes for easy, day-of preparation. For a fun presentation, serve skewers mounted onto a pineapple cut in half, stabilized on a platter.  — Andrew Zimmern

Photo by Madeleine Hill

Ingredients

Chicken Satay & Marinade

  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • About two dozen wooden skewers
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander seed
  • 2 tablespoons curry powder
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

Peanut Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons ground sesame paste
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1/4 cup high quality all natural soy sauce or shoyu, I prefer the Japanese brand Yamasa.
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon sugar (or more to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon hot chili paste
  • 1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon Chinese black vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Mirin
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

Total Time: 45 min, plus overnight marinating
Servings: Makes about 24 skewers

Chicken Satays

Cut the chicken thighs lengthwise into even strips, about an inch wide. Whisk together all marinade ingredients. Place chicken in a Ziploc bag with the marinade, and refrigerate overnight (do not marinate for more than 24 hours).

Soak about two dozen wooden skewers in water for at least 30 minutes, to prevent the skewers from burning on the grill.

Remove the chicken from the marinade. Thread the chicken onto the wooden skewers.

Grill the chicken skewers over high heat (you can also use a stove-top grill pan) until lightly charred and cooked through, about 3-5 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and serve with the peanut sauce.

Peanut Sauce

Combine all sauce ingredients in a blender, pulsing for just a few seconds to combine. Adjust seasoning using more sugar if you care for it sweeter, or a little more vinegar if you care to cut the unctuous quality of the dressing. Do not use salt, the soy takes care of that for you.

 

Sun safety for your child

Credit: iStock

By Molly Martyn, MD

One of the great aspects of childhood is being outdoors.  Whether you are at the swimming pool, a soccer game, or the park, it is important for all family members to practice sun safety.  Much of our lifetime sun exposure happens in the first 18 years of our lives, and protecting the skin of infants and children will reduce their skin cancer risk as they grow older.

What are different ways to protect children’s skin from the sun?

The first and easiest way to protect children’s skin is to be thoughtful about sun exposure.   The sun’s UV rays are the strongest between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., so it is safest to plan for time outdoors in the morning or late afternoon.

When possible, stay in the shade.  Keep sun hats and sun glasses easily accessible in the stroller or your car.  Children should be dressed in cool, comfortable, lightweight clothing to cover their skin.  Dark clothing with a tight weave is best (you can test this by holding the cloth up to a light and seeing how much light gets through).  Use swim shirts when at the swimming pool.  Clothing made to protect from the sun is given an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) rating.

Finally, for the parts of skin that can’t be covered, there are sunblock and sunscreen.

What is the difference between sunscreen and sunblock?

Sunscreen chemically absorbs UV radiation and dissipates it as heat.  Sunblock provides a physical barrier that reflects UV radiation.  Sunblocks contain compounds like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide that make them thick and may leave a visible layer (or block) on the skin.  Many products for children contain a combination of both.

How important is SPF? The higher the better?

SPF stands for sun protection factor.  It measures how well sunscreen protects from UVB rays.  When applied correctly, SPF 15 absorbs 93 percent of the sun’s UVB rays, SPF 30 absorbs 97 percent, and SPF 50 absorbs 98 percent.

What should you look for in a sunblock or sunscreen?

Sunscreens and sunblocks are regulated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and the labels contain helpful information.  Look for a product that is labeled:

  •  Broad-Spectrum: this means that it blocks both UVB and UVA sun rays
  •  SPF 30 or higher
  • “Water resistant” or “very water resistant”. That means that the SPF is maintained after 40 or 80 minutes in the water.

What is the best way to apply sunscreen?

Use a lot!  Most people only use about half of what they need.  Cover all exposed areas, paying special attention to the areas that people commonly miss like the ears, the tops of feet and the backs of hands, along the hairline, and even in parts in the hair.

Be careful when applying sunscreen around the eyes.  It may be helpful to use a sunscreen stick for easier application in that area.

Sunscreen should be applied to dry skin at least 15 minutes prior to sun exposure to allow it to absorb into the skin.  Reapply every two hours OR after being in the water or sweating heavily.

Is there anything special to know about protecting babies’ skin from the sun?

Babies younger than 6 months have very sensitive skin.  As much as possible, they should be kept out of direct sunlight.  Dress them in light, protective clothing and use wide-billed sun hats.  For areas of their bodies that can’t be covered (like their faces or the backs of their hands), use an infant sunblock with at least SPF 30.

What about getting enough vitamin D?  Will limiting sun exposure lead to a low vitamin D level?

Sunlight is important for vitamin D synthesis.  However, the risks of sunburn, damage to the skin, and skin cancer trump this.  Children can get vitamin D through their diet, and some people also choose to take additional vitamin D supplementation.

What are the best remedies for a sunburn?

You can care for sunburns by applying cool compresses and aloe vera gel.  Gentle moisturizers can be applied to intact skin.  Ibuprofen may help to relieve discomfort and can be used for children older than 6 months.

To read more about sun safety and protection, good resources include:

1.  The American Academy of Pediatrics

2.  American Academy of Dermatology

 

 

Five Question Friday: John Vaughn

Meet John Vaughn,  manager of IT Service Delivery.

John Vaughn

Describe what a typical day is like for you at Children’s? Wow, I’m not sure if there is ever a “typical” day here at Children’s!  That’s part of what I love so much about working here, the constant change, challenge, and variety.  On some days I may be sitting in on project status and implementation meetings, other days reviewing customer service metrics,  and on other days I’m out rounding on the floors to better understand what is working well for our customers and what are our opportunities to improve.  Every day holds a different challenge!

What drew you to Children’s? I’ve worked in a lot of different industries, from manufacturing to education, but I think what drew me to Children’s, and keeps me coming back for more, is the opportunity to feel like the work that I do has a positive impact on the lives of the children and families within our community.

What do you love most about your job? I love hearing the stories from our patients and families about how Children’s changed their lives and knowing that in some small way that I played a part in making sure that our clinicians were able to support the healthcare needs of those children.  I love working with a team who has a passion for helping kids.  Whether that’s shown through fixing a computer, answering a phone call at 3 a.m., or by checking out an iPad through the Geek Squad, we have the opportunity to make technology work better for everyone who steps through the doors of Children’s.

What is your favorite Children’s memory? I think that my favorite Children’s memory would be running in the HeartBeat 5000 last year.  I was running in support of some close friends of mine whose child spent a lot of time up in the cardiovascular care center (CVCC).  It was very emotional being able to run for them and also to see the overwhelming turnout of patients, families, clinicians, and staff in support of Children’s and children’s heart health.  It makes you feel like you’re a part of a larger team of people focused on helping your community.

How do you spend your time outside of work? I’m married with two younger kids (3 and 7), which means that the kids and all of their activities definitely keep my wife and me busy and on our toes!  Now that it is finally summer (right?), I try to get out running and cycling as much as possible.  I typically run a number of races over the summer, bike the MS150, and I am training for my very first marathon in October.  Finally, I think I might lose a lot of my “IT Geek Cred” if I neglected to mention that I am prone to tinker with absolutely every piece of technology that I can get my hands on at home.  My wife believes that I may have something called shiny objects syndrome.  She’s probably right.

 

85 days early

Clair and Reese

By Maggie Sonnek

Chadley Doering had been at work 10 minutes when got the terrifying call every dad-to-be fears. His pregnant wife, voice shaking, said only eight words.

“You need to take me to the hospital,” she said.

At 22 weeks pregnant, she was bleeding.

Mother Nature had packed a punch that February morning. Ice-covered roads and bitter cold wind gusts made the 10-mile drive to the hospital seem eternal. To make matters worse, Mary Kay Doering started having contractions. She was going into labor.

The staff at the hospital near the Doerings’ home in Silver Lake was as prepared as they could be. One nurse’s words devastated the couple.

“There’s nothing more we can do for you here. We’re sending you to The Mother Baby Center,” she said.

Paralyzed with fear, the 26-year-old was prepped for the hour-long ambulance ride to Minneapolis. And she would be making the journey alone, leaving her husband to brave the winter storm on his own.

Just 16 weeks earlier on a crisp fall day, Doering found herself alone again, this time with a smile on her face. She had just learned she was carrying twins.

But now, as she bumped along in the screaming ambulance, she could only hope and pray her babies would hang on.

When she arrived in Minneapolis, doctors and nurses surrounded Doering. She was dilated to three centimeters; just a breath away from active labor.

They were able to stop her contractions, but gave her one assignment: Stay pregnant. Doering would be confined to a bed at The Mother Baby Center for the next 14 weeks.

Through it all, husband and dad-to-be worked hard to make sure Doering felt connected to her life at home, even though she was lying in a hospital room nearly an hour away. He painted the nursery purple – the couple learned they were expecting two girls – and filmed it so she could witness each brush stroke.

On March 25, Doering, at 27 weeks and six days, felt uncomfortable. In pain. She knew the babies were coming. Her husband knew it, too. But he was at home, 60 miles away, and his car could only carry him so fast.

“For a couple minutes, I was upset,” Doering said. “But I soon realized that these babies were coming whether Chadley was there or not. Waiting just wasn’t an option.”

Doering was rushed into surgery and the babies were delivered via caesarean section one minute apart. Dad missed the birth by 20 minutes.

Devastated, he arrived just as the girls were getting adjusted to their new homes at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota (NICU) in Minneapolis.

A million thoughts rushed into his mind as he saw his babies for the first time. He slowly made his way to their isolettes and cautiously stuck a finger into their plastic box.

The girls, who weighed no more than a can of soup, gently tugged back. Although they were 85 days early, they still recognized their daddy.

Clair and Reese made their home in the NICU for the next 35 days before they were transferred to a hospital closer to Silver Lake.

During these long days surrounded by monitors and nurses and feeding tubes, mom and dad tried to keep things as normal as possible. But, even daily visits and email updates couldn’t take away the feeling that something precious had been stolen from them.

“The time in the hospital and NICU was nearly impossible. I wouldn’t wish it upon my worst enemy,” she said. “And yet I would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

On Sunday, May 19, one month before their actual due date, the Doerings got the news they’d been waiting for. The girls were finally able to go home. No breathing tubes, no isolettes, no monitors.

They could finally sleep in their purple-painted nursery.

“Being a mom puts everything into perspective,” Doering said. “It’s an incredible feeling to be a parent.”

This post originally appeared on the Great Beginnings blog.

Five Question Friday: Elin Neugebauer

 

Meet Elin Neugebauer, a health unit coordinator, at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.

What drew you to Children’s? When my daughter was born with a congenital heart defect, my life changed in numerous ways. I have a degree in communication studies, and I wanted to begin advocating for children. Health care does not start and stop in the patient room, and Children’s is an amazing example of complete patient and family care. We are involved in the community in a variety of ways, and I was drawn to Children’s because of how much I wanted to be involved in our various programs.

Elin Neugebauer

What do you love most about Children’s? I love how Children’s encourages and provides opportunities to become involved with our families and patients outside of our daily department. Through our Making Safe Simple events, fundraisers like HeartBeat 5000, and various groups that assist with community events, education, advocacy, and policy, I have had the opportunity to be involved with Children’s in an incredibly enriching way. It has been wonderful to work with children and families in fun learning environments, and to receive additional education and training for myself on how we can improve children’s health care.

On June 22, you’ll participate in the HeartBeat 5000. Can you tell us about your team and why you’re participating? My daughter’s team is Seven of Hearts and this will be our second year at HeartBeat, first as a team. I chose that name because her first heart surgery was on July 7. Last year it was just her and I who ran in the event. I decorated the jogging stroller with hearts and pushed her while I ran. It was amazing to see all the teams gathered together, sharing stories about their heart kids, and advocating for congenital heart defect awareness and research. I was also greatly impressed with all the informational booths at HeartBeat,  and I came away with a lot of helpful information and new friends. This year Maija and I will be running with a team of eight people. Every step of the event, each connection made, they are all so important to the heart community. We are advocating for our children and spreading awareness of the most common birth defect.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be? Since I was a little girl, I have wanted to travel to Norway, Sweden, and Denmark. I grew up celebrating various Scandinavian holidays, enjoying special foods, and surrounded by numerous photos and traditional decorations. The fjords in Norway and the coastline and Nyhavn canal in Denmark are at the top of my list for sites to see.

Is there a staff member you’d like to see featured in Five Question Friday? Send your suggestion to Brady, social media specialist, at Brady.Gervais@ChildrensMN.org.

Tomatillo-Avocado Salsa

This bright, citrusy salsa is made with fresh tomatillos rather than tomatoes to give it a tangy, piquant flavor profile often found in Yucatan cuisine. This salsa makes a great (and healthy!) dip all on its own, served with tortilla chips and fresh veggies such as red pepper slices, jicama and radishes. It’s also a nice addition to any grilled or roasted meat, poultry or seafood. — Andrew Zimmern

Photo by Madeleine Hill

Ingredients

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced very fine
  • 2 serrano chiles, deseeded, minced very fine
  • 1/2 pound tomatillos, husked, rinsed and quartered
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 3 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • Tortilla chips, jicama, red pepper and radish, to serve

Instructions

Servings: Makes about 2 cups
Total Time: 20 min

Remove the husk from the tomatillos and rinse. Cut into quarters.

Combine the chiles, onion, salt, garlic, tomatillos and cilantro in a food processor. Pulse to combine (do not over puree). Reserve.

Halve the avocado, remove and discard pit and scoop out the flesh, discard skin. Using a fork, mash the avocado into the sauce with the lime juice.

 

 

 

Five Question Friday: Mitch Peterka

 

Your job title is injury prevention program coordinator, so what is a typical day like for you at Children’s? On any given day I can be found doing one of two things: planning for an upcoming event or hanging out in the community spreading safety. If I am planning that means I am working with event organizers or other people here at Children’s to make sure we put on a fun, yet informative, time. If I am at an event that means I am out talking with kids and their parents about different ways to be safe, like wearing bike helmets, using the right car seat and taking the right precautions around the home.

Mitch Peterka

This summer, you’re involved in “Making safe simple: 100 ways in 100 days.” What is that about? Even though Children’s is now a level I pediatric trauma center, we don’t want kids and families to have to meet our Emergency Department staff and trauma team. That is why we are going out into the community all summer long to let kids and families know how they can keep from getting injured. We are visiting parks, swimming beaches and our own neighborhood to give simple advice in all different ways.

What drew you to Children’s? Easy: The opportunity to work with the most fun population in the world (kids) at the greatest place around (Children’s).

Do you have a favorite memory from working at Children’s? Being able to watch Children’s – Minneapolis become a level I trauma center. I started working as an EMT in the Minneapolis Emergency Department almost five and a half years ago and now I work with the Trauma Services, so I am lucky to have had a front row seat to the making of this big achievement.

How do you spend your time outside of Children’s? I love traveling, being outdoors and finding adventure. Whether it is hiking Wild River State Park, skiing in Summit County, Colo., or biking the 30 days of April around Minneapolis, if it is outside I enjoy it.

6 tips for preventing, identifying and treating lice

During the summer, kids share everything. Pool towels, hats and, yes, even lice. It’s an itchy subject, but anyone can get lice! It’s totally treatable, and there are no long-term effects.

We spoke with Molly Martyn, MD, a pediatrician at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, about how to prevent, identify and treat it.

1.  What are some signs of lice?

Lice are most often seen rather than felt.  Most children do not have symptoms when they have lice.  In some cases, they can develop itching from an allergic reaction to the lice saliva.

The head louse is about 3 mm long (about the size of a sesame seed) and is a grayish-white color.  Lice move by crawling, not by flying. Females lay eggs (commonly called “nits”) at the base of hair shafts.   The eggs hatch after a week and leave the remains of their white case in the hair. The eggs are firmly attached to the hair, so they move away from the scalp as hair grows.

The best way to look for live lice is to comb the hair with a fine-toothed nit comb. Hair should be wet with a conditioner. With a fine- toothed comb, start touching the scalp and comb through to the end of the hair, looking for lice or nits after each stroke.

Nits (eggs or the empty egg cases) can stay in the hair for some time even after active infestation is cleared.

2.  How do lice spread?

Lice spread through contact, most commonly from contact with the head of a person with lice. Lice can also transfer through shared clothing, hats, combs, hair brushes, headbands and hair ties, headphones, towels, pillows, beds, etc.

It is important to remember that lice can happen to anyone, and is not a sign of being dirty or having poor personal hygiene.

3.  What is the difference between dry scalp and lice?

This can be a surprisingly difficult thing to tell by just looking at a scalp.  Nits can be confused with dry scalp, residue from hair gels or sprays, or fungal infections of the scalp.  Nits are usually more firmly cemented to the base of the hair and are difficult to dislodge.  Your child’s pediatrician or family doctor can help you distinguish between dry scalp and lice.

4.  What are things parents can do to prevent their child from getting lice at summer camp?

Before your child goes to summer camp, it is a good idea to have a conversation about things they shouldn’t share such as hats, hair brushes, hair styling items, head phones, towels, and bedding.

If you are concerned, ask the camp about whether or not they have had issues with lice in the past.  Your child may be required to bring their own bedding.  If able, you should send them with their own pillow and towels.

You can also ask if children will be participating in activities requiring helmets and send your child’s own helmet if they have one that is appropriate for the activity.  Wearing appropriate head protection should never be avoided, even if it is shared.

5.  If a child acquires lice at camp, what should a parent do?

Dealing with lice can be a very stressful thing for families.  Given that it spreads by contact, many families end up treating not just one child, but multiple family members.

There are a number of different approaches to treating lice and you can always ask your child’s doctor for advice.  It is most often treated with a topical lotion or shampoo that helps to kill the lice when applied to the scalp.  The exact instructions on use will vary depending on the type of treatment used.  Some types of treatment are repeated at seven to 10 days because they kill only the adult lice, not the eggs.  Follow instructions closely, as the topical medications can have serious side effects if misused or overused.

Some families may choose not to use a topical medication and instead remove lice through processes such as repeated “wet combing.”  This is also a good option for children who are too young to use the topical medications.

If one member of your family is diagnosed with lice, it is important to check all family members.  Bedding, towels, and clothing should all be washed in hot water and heat-dried.  You should also vacuum your home to remove any hairs that were shed with nits attached.  Throw away combs and brushes used by the infected person or soak them in hot water greater than 130 degrees for 10 minutes.

We have many visits and calls to our clinic regarding lice, and have a standard way of helping families to treat and get rid of lice. We are happy to help!

6.  Where can I find out more about lice such as how to do the wet combing method?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a terrific website with information on how to recognize, treat, and stop the spread of lice: http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/lice/head/index.html .