What drew you to Children’s? Before coming to Children’s, I always admired the skilled expertise of the Children’s neonatal transport teams when they came to pick up infants who had become too critical for us to keep at the hospital I was working in at that time. I knew when I left that job someday, Children’s was the only hospital where I wanted to go so that I could be a part of that team!
You recently returned from Prague, where you presented at the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing 24th International Nursing Research Congress. Can you tell us a little bit about your presentation? Yes! That presentation really expresses my passion for nursing and caring for neonates. It also emphasizes the opportunities that I believe nurses have to impact infant outcomes not only locally, but globally as well. After traveling to Guatemala, Uganda and Saudi Arabia multiple times to work and teach, I became more and more aware of how much the barriers in those environments inhibited education from becoming sustained practice change that could improve infant outcomes. I ended up choosing that topic for my final master’s degree project which was a critical review of the literature: “The Impact of Neonatal Resuscitation training on Infant Outcomes in Low Resource Countries.”
As nurses, we have the ability to do amazing things in this country to improve infant lives. Nurses in many other environments are often not so fortunate. Many barriers prevent nurses from obtaining knowledge and implementing it into best care practices for their patients. I really wanted to improve my understanding of this so that I could create educational strategies for those environments that decreased or removed as many barriers as possible and led to sustained care interventions and practice. I learned a lot through that work and had opportunities to share it with staff in Uganda and Saudi Arabia. When the opportunity came to also share the research in Prague at an international conference, I was thrilled. Eight hundred nurses from 46 countries attended the conference and it was an incredible opportunity to be able to network with others who share my passion!
What do you love most about working at Children’s? I remember the first day I walked into Children’s to work. It felt like such a happy environment and I knew I was going to love being here! I have had two roles at Children’s. The first was in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Attending births and having the experience of being a part of the team that helps a tiny life get started, works to strengthen it, and then send it home to their family can’t be beat. I have been honored to be a part of so many beautiful moments and miracles in the NICU area. Of course not every day is easy, but even working with families through the daily NICU struggles can be a gift.
In 2006 I became the neonatal outreach nurse for Children’s. In this role I share education and Children’s resources with peers in referral hospitals around our region. I love teaching, but when I hear that our outreach education or training has helped a nurse or physician improve or save the life of one of their infants because of what they learned from me or the outreach team, it is the best feedback I can get! When I first stepped out of the NICU, I missed the infants and families terribly until I realized that the impact that was possible through outreach could be just as fulfilling, but perhaps on a different scale. I am so very grateful to Children’s for the many wonderful experiences that I have had in this position!
How do you spend your time outside of work? My husband and I love spending time with our kids and granddaughters more than anything else! We also both love traveling (we always try to keep at least one trip in front of us), biking, walking our two dogs, and working on projects around the house. A family cruise coming up this winter to celebrate my husband’s birthday will bless us with two of the things we enjoy most!!! I also am always waiting and hoping for the next mission adventure as I wonder when and where it might be!
Have a Five Question Friday suggestion? Send the name to Brady Gervais at Brady.Gervais@ChildrensMN.org.