Author Archives: erin.keifenheim

Five Question Friday: Meet our Interpreter Services team

Five Question FridayLast year, our Interpreter Services team translated more than 72,000 patient encounters in 64 languages. In honor of Interpreter Services week at Children’s, we have a special edition of Five Question Friday, featuring one question from five different interpreters! Get to know these individuals and learn more about the important role they play for patients and families.

Max Barquero-Salazar in the manager of the Interpretive Services team.

Max Barquero-Salazar in the manager of the Interpreter Services team.

Max Barquero-Salazar, Interpreter Services Manager

What’s one thing you’d like people to know about Interpreter Services?

Interpreter Services is composed of a variety of professionals from different fields. There are lawyers, architects, dentists, doctors, social workers, teachers, MBAs, musicians, etc.

The level of professionalism and commitment is extremely high; in fact, I believe any of the interpreters could be trained to perform other roles within the organization.

Sheila Rojas began working formally as a medical interpreter in 2011.

Sheila Rojas began working formally as a medical interpreter in 2011.

Sheila Rojas, Spanish interpreter

How long have you been interpreting?

I started working formally as a medical interpreter in 2011. Previously, as part of my role as a child psychotherapist, I assisted Latino families for 11 years to help them communicate with government agencies, the court system, schools and health care facilities. I am grateful for the opportunity to combine both jobs in the present.

Touayim Thoj

Touayim Thoj

Touayim Thoj, Hmong interpreter

What’s one thing you’d like users of interpreters to know?

I just want them to trust me that I will do a good job.

 

 

Katie Nielsen

Katie Nielsen

Katie Nielsen, scheduler

What is the best thing about Interpreter Services?

Our staff is highly committed to patients and their linguistic needs. They are proactive about educating hospital staff when interpreters have not been used with families who need them.

 

Safiya Jama

Safiya Jama

Safiya Jama, Somali interpreter

What’s one thing you’d like users of interpreters to know?

I would like to remind them not to use family members/minors for interpretation, in order to be consistent and accurate.

Five Question Friday: Ellen Wade

five_question_friday111Many parents would agree that getting kids to eat healthy can be a challenge. Whether a child has general nutrition issues or complex medical needs, a pediatric dietitian can help provide comprehensive nutrition assessments, treatment and follow-up to make sure he or she gets the nutrition needed to grow and develop.

Ellen Wade

Ellen Wade, MEd, RD, LD has worked

Ellen Wade, MEd, RD, LD, a pediatric clinical dietitian for the Minneapolis sixth floor, PICU and Children’s Home Care Pharmacy, tells us about her role and why she loves her job.

How long have you worked at Children’s?

I have worked at Children’s for 13 years, and I have been a dietitian for 30 years.

What does a typical day look like for you?

My electronic medical record task list will profile the patients I need to visit for the day, and then I prioritize my day into tasks. My planned day seldom turns into my actual day as new challenges develop for patient needs and plans change to make things work for the parents.

How did you decide to go into pediatrics?

I have always worked in a teaching hospital with multidisciplinary teams. Once I started my family, pediatric nutrition fit as the next logical step in my career. Being a parent of three children has helped me with compassion for parents in the raising of their children.

Q4_mighty_buttonWhat do you love most about your job?

The top 5 reasons I love my job:

5. I hear a good story of how Children’s helped a parent’s child or the child of a friend, every day.

4. I work with an excellent medical team, every day.

3. I meet one new patient/family, every day.

2. I am able to teach nutrition principles, every day.

1. I help a child in a small way, every day.

What is one interesting fact about you?

My hometown is Deerfield, Ill. I have lived in the Windy City, the Motor City, the Indy City, the Arch City, the Quaker Oats City, and I moved to the Twin Cities the year of the Halloween blizzard.

Five Question Friday: Dr. M. Jennifer Abuzzahab

five_question_friday111November is American Diabetes Month, so we caught up with M. Jennifer Abuzzahab, MD, to learn more about her role at Children’s and what families should know about childhood diabetes.

M. Jennifer Abuzzahab, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist.

M. Jennifer Abuzzahab, MD, is a pediatric endocrinologist.

What is your role at Children’s and where do you work?

I am a pediatric endocrinologist. This means that I study hormones (the text messages that run around in your blood). My primary clinic is at the St. Paul campus, but I also see patients at the Woodbury location and at the Minneapolis clinic.

How did you decide to go into pediatrics?

I love the resilience of kids and the positive energy that they exude; it helps me get through the busy days. I also really like seeing kids grow up.

What are some of the conditions you treat?

I see kids with conditions such as diabetes (high blood sugar), hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), thyroid problems, multiple hormone deficiencies following cancer treatment, and growth and puberty disorders. Basically anything that would fit into a Dr. Seuss book: “too much,” “too little,” “too tall” or “too small.”

November is American Diabetes Month. What’s one thing you want families to know about childhood diabetes?

Q4_mighty_buttonAlthough there is more type 2 (adult) diabetes in teenagers, the majority of kids still have type 1 diabetes. This means that they have to check their blood sugar several times a day and take a shot of insulin every time they eat – every day, even on vacation. It also means they can have cake and ice cream at birthday parties, but just like everyone else, shouldn’t have cake and ice cream every day.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A doctor… family legend is that I wanted to be a “baby doctor” when I was 3. Both my parents stand by this (and their decision to give me the first name of Mary, but never, ever use it).

Five Question Friday: Brian Brooks

Five Question FridayBrian BrooksThis week, Children’s is celebrating our chaplaincy team as part of Spiritual Care Week. We’re pleased to introduce you to Brian Brooks, Children’s chaplaincy and bereavement manager.

How long have you worked at Children’s?

I have been at Children’s for almost 19 years. January will be 19 years.

Describe your role.

In my role, I lead the team of chaplains in providing spiritual care to the patients and families that we serve. I also provide spiritual care directly to patients and families. Chaplains care for patients and families from all faith groups and help patients and families find hope, strength and healing on their journey of illness or injury. Another of my roles is the bereavement coordinator for Children’s. Bereavement services provides bereavement followup for two years to all families who have experienced the death of a child at Children’s. Bereavement services provides hospital memorial services, grief groups and other supportive events for bereaved families.

What do you love most about your job?

I enjoy working with a great team of colleagues, not just the chaplains, but the entire medical team, physicians, nurses, social workers and child life specialists, to name a few. In my role as bereavement coordinator, I recruit employees from many different areas of the hospital to help create and implement the programming that supports bereaved families.

Oct. 20-24 is Spiritual Care Week. What’s one thing you want people to know about chaplaincy at Children’s?

As chaplains, we care for people wherever they are on their journey of life. We don’t require that people be religious. Chaplains meet people on the human level, listening to the hopes and fears of our patients and families (and staff as well) and help them find the inner strength that they need to meet the challenge facing them. We help them explore the spiritual issues that are raised by their illness or injury. We also help people to explore how they might find new spiritual or community resources that will help them on their journey. Our role is support and care for people just as they are.

subscribe_blogWhat is your favorite book or movie?

One of my favorite movies is “The Matrix.” I had a teenage patient who kept telling me about the movie and that I needed to watch it. I really didn’t want to see it, but I finally agreed one day to watch the first half-hour of the movie with him during an infusion in the clinic. I hoped he would quit asking me to see the movie! Needless to say, I was immediately taken in by the spiritual themes of the movie that seemed so overt when I finally watched it. I am grateful that my patient didn’t give up on me!

My favorite book is “The Purpose Driven Life.”

Five Question Friday: Brooke Blaschka

Five Question FridayEvery October, we celebrate National Respiratory Care Week to recognize our respiratory care professionals at Children’s. This week, we introduce you to Brooke Blaschka, a respiratory therapist who has worked at Children’s for just over two years.

Brooke Blaschka

Brooke Blaschka

What is your role? I am registered respiratory therapist. I work in all areas in all units at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota on the Minneapolis campus.

What do you love most about your job? The thing I love most about my job is being able to help the patients. Even if it’s one patient a day, at least I know that I played a role in their recovery process and that they might be one step closer to going home with their families.

What drew you to working in respiratory therapy? I always knew I wanted to take care of kids, so I did some investigating as to what I could do, other than nursing, that would give me the opportunity to work with children. I wasn’t sure what respiratory therapy was until I actually started the program, but when I found out I fell in love, so I stuck with it.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? When I was a kid, I wanted to somehow work with kids of all ages; it just took me sometime to figure out how I was going to do that.

How do you spend your time outside of work? Outside of work, I love to take my dog for a walk, I love to read, and I love to spend time with family “up north” at the cabin.

Nurse with inspirational story receives lifetime achievement award

Be Ho, RN, surgery, is the recipient of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine's Outstanding Nurses 2014 Lifetime Achievement award.

Be Ho, RN, surgery, is the recipient of Mpls.St.Paul Magazine’s Outstanding Nurses 2014 Lifetime Achievement award.

By Erin Keifenheim

Be Ho, staff RN, surgery, knew she wanted to be a nurse when she was 4½ years old, yet she never imagined that following her dream would lead her on a journey to flee her home country and start a new life halfway around the world. Now celebrating her 34th year at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota, Be recently was named the 2014 Lifetime Achievement winner in the annual Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Outstanding Nurses awards for her amazing nursing skills and perseverance to follow her dream.

Be’s inspirational story starts in Vietnam, where she was born. When her father had abdominal surgery in the French-run hospital there, Be was mesmerized by the French nurses with their blue eyes, long eyelashes and surgical gowns, and the kindness they showed her family. She knew from that moment that she would become a nurse someday. At the age of 9, she pleaded with her parents to send her to nursing school. She cried so much that they finally arranged a meeting for her with the director of a local hospital. He convinced her to hold off on becoming a nurse until she was old enough. Finally, when Be was 17, she couldn’t wait any longer.

“At that time, nursing was looked down on as a career,” Be said. “Girls were supposed to stay at home. Nurses were viewed as the ones who did the dirty work – changing diapers and cleaning wounds. I didn’t dare tell my family I was applying for nursing school.”

Instead, Be lied to her parents, telling them she was going to visit her cousin in the capital, but she actually took the entrance exam for nursing school. Three months later, she didn’t have the heart to sneak away again to find out the results. However, her neighbor had gone to see the results of his fiancée’s exam and saw Be’s name on the list. He came over to congratulate her, thus breaking the news to her parents. Her mother cried and was resistant, but her father persuaded her to allow Be to go to nursing school – he knew she would be a wonderful nurse; he was right. Be went on to graduate second in her class. And because she always knew she wanted to work with children, she took a job at a children’s hospital in Saigon. She eventually went on to become the hospital’s director of nursing.

In 1968, Be received a scholarship to travel to England for intensive nursing care training. In 1972, she visited Minneapolis with a group of young patients who needed open-heart surgeries. The Children’s Heart Fund, now Children’s HeartLink, sponsored her to escort the patients and care for them while they were here. During that trip, she formed relationships with the staff at Children’s – Minneapolis who thought very highly of her and recognized her potential.

Be Ho, RN, a Vietnam native, wanted to be a nurse since she was 4 years old.

Be Ho, RN, a Vietnam native, wanted to be a nurse since she was 4 years old.

Back in Vietnam, the war was continuing. Because Be had traveled outside the country multiple times, the communist leaders suspected her of being a spy.

“Every week I had to write an essay to the communist government saying that I was the country’s enemy,” Be said. “One day I was brave enough to ask why I was being forced to write these letters. They told me ‘because you are such a good nurse.’ It was very hard for me to say I was an enemy when all I wanted to do was provide nurturing and loving nursing care – just like the French nurses I saw as a child.”

Eventually, Be became worried about her future in Vietnam. Her colleagues at Children’s Heart Fund attempted to evacuate her in 1975, but she couldn’t bear to leave without saying goodbye to her family. Though she feared for her life, she said a tearful goodbye to her friends and remained in Vietnam. A few years later, she knew it was time to escape. She contacted her U.S. colleagues for assistance, under the guise that she needed to have open-heart surgery in Japan.

“I had to lie again to escape Vietnam. If I was caught, I would be sent to a concentration camp,” Be said. “I told the hospital I was working for that my grandmother was dying, when she had actually died before I was born.”

Arrangements were made for Be to travel by boat to a refugee camp in Thailand.

“I had to leave without saying goodbye to my family. I wanted to protect them in case the communist government came looking for me. I wrote a letter to my dad and left. It was very scary,” she said. “I didn’t know anyone. It was getting dark. We had to hide under coconut leaves on the boat to disguise ourselves from the communist police who were chasing us. When we finally made it to international waters, I was so happy I cried.”

Be spent five months in the refugee camp, where she worked as a clinic nurse and as a translator for the U.S. delegation. It was there that she also met her now husband, who found her in the crowd of new arrivals and arranged for her to have a place to sleep. While the camp provided safety, she knew there was more out there for her, and soon she was sponsored to work in the U.S. In August of 1980, Be arrived in Minnesota.

“I knew I wanted to work at Children’s Hospital,” Be said. “It was a place of comfort for me. I talked with the director of nursing, but because my nursing papers and transcripts were thrown overboard by pirates during my escape, I had no official paperwork. They hired me as a nursing assistant in the PICU, and I was so grateful.”

Subscribe to MightyWith the help of a Children’s scholarship, Be went back to school full time and got her associate’s degree in nursing from Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She was then hired as a registered nurse at Children’s and worked on 4 East (now the sixth floor), before eventually transferring to surgery.

Be is now the urology team leader in the surgery department and works with surgeons and staff to make sure they have the instruments and supplies needed for a variety of surgeries. She works to onboard new surgery nurses in urology and across other services, too.

“With every patient she works with, Be is calm, comforting and compassionate,” said Pat Buzzell, patient care manager for the surgery department. “She takes care of the whole family, reassures them and educates them so surgery isn’t a scary experience. She comes in on her days off to conduct patient family tours, and she often stays late to check in on patients. She does whatever it takes to make families comfortable, using her cheerful personality to calm their fears and put them at ease.”

Be still has a deep love for Vietnam and returns there on medical missions to provide care for children at the hospital where she used to work. She has recruited Children’s surgeons and staff to join her on these trips, where they provide education to medical teams and perform surgeries.

“Be gives everything to her patients, whether they are here or in Vietnam,” Pat said. “She works tirelessly to advocate for them, and she doesn’t give up. Because of the journey she has had and how hard she has worked to get here, Be refuses to settle for anything less than perfection. She believes in hard work and practice and has earned the respect of the surgeons, anesthesiologists and all staff on our unit. Be says it’s an honor to work with kids – I say it’s an honor to work with Be.”

Now almost 70 and pondering when to retire, Be gets emotional when she thinks about potentially leaving Children’s – her second home.

“I am so grateful to Children’s Hospital for all they have done for me,” she said. “Without them, I wouldn’t be here now. This country took me in, but this hospital gave me a second chance for my life. I love Children’s Hospital from the bottom of my heart.”

Thank you, Be, for your heroic journey to follow your dream and for all you have done for Children’s patients and families over the years. On behalf of Children’s, we are proud to celebrate you as the Mpls.St.Paul Magazine 2014 Lifetime Achievement winner.

Be Thi Ho: Mpls.St.Paul Magazine Outstanding Nurse, 2014 from mspmag on Vimeo.

Five Question Friday: Jeff Mason

Five Question FridayThis week, we are pleased to introduce you to Jeff Mason, DPT, physical therapist. Jeff has worked at Children’s for nearly four years now and still tells people he landed his dream job on the first try. Learn more about Jeff and how he uses play to help children with cancer stay active.

Jeff Mason, DPT, physical therapist

Jeff Mason, DPT, physical therapist

What is your role at Children’s? I am a physical therapist, working primarily with children who have been diagnosed with cancer, and their famillies, to make sure that they can keep active and keep playing, at home and in the hospital.

What is a typical day like for you? I split my time between the Cancer and Blood Disorders clinic and the hospital, working with kids and their families toward the goal of physical activity, which I like to call play. We work against the disease process, as well as the side effects of chemotherapy, which can cause fatigue, muscle weakness, balance problems and sensation changes, like numbing or tingling (buzzing, as some kids have described it), that can really get in the way of playing. I spend my day crawling on the floor, making ramps for Matchbox cars out of mats or books and tissue boxes, dancing or marching in a parade (shout-out to Music Therapy!), riding bikes or scooters, and making a lot of animal noises. I was known for my elephant for a while in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) – it’s tough to keep that one at a reasonable volume.

Do you have a favorite memory from working at Children’s? One of my favorite memories was going for a bike ride through the tunnel in the basement with a patient who was on her 96th day in the hospital and had just learned that she was going to be here longer. She really wanted to bike, so we walked the bike to the elevators, where she taught me how to play the elevator guessing game (which elevator is it going to be? She won every time). Then, she took off through the tunnels, with me tailing her with her IV pole, the balloons tied to the top smacking me in the face with every stride, her giggles filling the tunnel with pure joy. Those tunnels could have gone on forever; I don’t think either of us would have stopped.

Subscribe to MightyWhat do you love most about your job? See above :) I think the challenge of walking into a situation where there isn’t much motivation to play, during a most difficult time in someone’s life, and figuring out what gets him/her excited, or what will make him/her smile, and figuring out a way to make that the focus. I love working with kids and their families to help them take control of some aspects of the journey when there are so many things that are/seem out of their control. I also enjoy the incredible team that makes up Children’s, including my brother, a nurse in the PICU!

How do you spend your time outside of work? I have 7- and 8-year-old boys at home, so, obviously, we have lots of dance parties. We read delightful children’s books, we bike, we play a game called “Jody Monster” at the park (I am Jody Monster; it makes some kids nervous, because I take my roles seriously, not breaking character). We also enjoy kayaking, fishing, and the Northwoods at my partner Annie’s family cabin near Ely. I recently took up tinkering, turning a toddler bed into a reading chair, and I make a mean radiator cover/bookshelf.

Five Question Friday: Terrance Davis

Five Question FridayIt’s Friday, and what better way to celebrate the end of the week than with a Five Question Friday profile? Meet Terrance Davis, who works on our Environmental Services team within the Minneapolis Surgery department.

Terrance Davis has worked at Children's for 25 years.

Terrance Davis has worked at Children’s for 25 years.

How long have you worked at Children’s?

I have worked here for 25 years.

Describe your role.

I clean surgery rooms between cases and stock supplies.

Do you have a favorite memory from working at Children’s?

I have a few favorites:

  • The surgery staff surprised me with a 50th birthday celebration.
  • Each annual craft show, which is so much fun
  • Gathering for the Environmental Services Week events

What do you think make kids great?

I have a couple answers for this one. First, they can smile at you and make your entire day better. Second, they have great energy, which can be contagious.

What is one interesting fact about you?

I was married in Las Vegas at the top of the Stratosphere tower with local TV personality “Fancy Ray” McCloney standing with me as my best man.

Five Question Friday: Kelly Patnode

Five Question Friday

Meet Kelly Patnode, patient access specialist at our St. Paul hospital, who has a love for the Minnesota State Fair.

When she isn't working in our St. Paul hospital, Kelly Patnode enjoys reading and helping out at the Minnesota State Fair.

When she isn’t working in our St. Paul hospital, Kelly Patnode enjoys reading and helping out at the Minnesota State Fair.

How long have you worked at Children’s?

I have worked at Children’s in St. Paul for 36 years.

What drew you to Children’s?

I started in St. Paul when it was on “the hill” (across the highway from our current location) as a volunteer at the age of 13. I was a volunteer for four years. I went to school for medical office occupations, but there were no openings at that time. When I was talking to someone at Children’s, they said there was an opening for a health unit coordinator. I asked what that person did, and they explained that person works at the main desk on the floors. I asked if that was similar to a ward secretary, and they said yes. I said, “Well, I have done that job for four years, so I think I could do it!”

Subscribe to MightyWhat is a typical day like for you?

My typical day starts with making a coffee. It is just the right way to start of the day. I then clean and restart all the computers, restock supplies and then either sit at the emergency room desk and start answering the phone, make calls for the providers, put together a chart or break down a chart or start with registering patients who come to be seen in the ER.

What do you love most about your job?

Every day is a different day. What I did yesterday at my job may be totally different than the day before or today. If I can get a smile out of a patient and their parents, it just makes the day better.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Usually I read books. But during the summertime I am busy because I also work at the Minnesota State Fair, selling box-office tickets for grandstand shows and pre-fair tickets. I have been working there for 38 years. So when I am not working at the hospital, I am at the fair. I am actually taking vacation from the hospital to work full time at the fair this year.

Five Question Friday: Dr. Anne-Marie Priebe

five_question_friday1

Dr. Anne-Marie Priebe is a gynecologist at Children's.

Dr. Anne-Marie Priebe is a gynecologist at Children’s.

For this edition of Five Question Friday, we’d like you to meet Anne-Marie Priebe, DO, who sees patients at Children’s St. Paul, Minneapolis and Woodbury clinics.

How long have you worked at Children’s? I joined the Children’s team in September of 2013.

Why did you go into pediatric and adolescent gynecology? I never imagined that I would work in either OBGYN or pediatrics. But through my rotations I fell in love with the scope of OBGYN because it is a great combination of office, surgery and hospital. Plus I find joy in helping a mom bring a new life into the world. I did a rotation during residency with a pediatric gynecologist at a children’s hospital. At times, a few patients and parents can have preconceived notions about gynecological issues, but being able to teach families about gynecology and realize the “GYNO” doesn’t have to be scary is rewarding.

What are some of the conditions you treat? People are often baffled when I tell them I am a pediatric and adolescent gynecologist. Their first thought is teen pregnancy. Although we do see patients for contraceptive counseling, teens are referred elsewhere for prenatal care. There are many other reasons to see your friendly Children’s gynecologist for medical or surgical management of:

  • Abnormal development of the reproductive system (congenital anomalies of the uterus or vagina)
  • Contraception, including pills, patches, rings, injections, implants, IUDs
  • Delayed puberty or periods
  • Endometriosis, tissue that grows outside of the uterus
  • Labial adhesions
  • Lichen sclerosus
  • Medical uses of hormonal contraceptives (acne, menstrual migraine, catamenial seizures)
  • Menstrual problems, including painful periods, heavy periods, frequent or irregular periods
  • Menstrual suppression
  • Ovarian cysts, fluid-filled sacs in or on the ovaries
  • Pelvic pain
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal syndrome affecting females
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Torsion (or twisting) of the ovary
  • Vaginal stenosis
  • Vulvovaginitis
  • Vulvar trauma
  • Vulvar abscesses or ulcers

Subscribe to MightyWhat do you love most about your job? When I was in college, I worked at a camp for middle schoolers. I have a soft spot for the preteens and teenagers who want to learn about things, such as periods, but are either too scared to ask or don’t want to ask their parents. Often times they look to their friends for answers even when their friends might be misinformed. I hope to educate teens on gynecology issues, and, with any luck, they will pass on correct information to their friends, too.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work? I love to travel and explore new places. I have been to 41 out of 50 states and would love to make it to every continent. During my explorations, I have discovered photography and refuse to hang any photos on my walls unless I have visited the location. I also love to cook but hate leftovers.

If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go and why?  I have always dreamed of buying an around-the-world ticket and just keep progressively heading east to see how others live and how the past shapes their culture.