Category Archives: Events

Pediatric Grand Rounds: June

Happy SUMMER, volunteers!  Here is the Grand Rounds schedule for the month of June.  As always, these sessions are open to all interested volunteers, and are held each Thursday from 8-9 am at the following locations:

Minneapolis Campus:

Children’s Specialty Center, Room 506

2530 Chicago Ave. S.

St. Paul Campus:

John Nasseth Medical Center

Conference Room

255 N. Smith Ave.

June Sessions:

6/2:  “Improving Patient Outcomes & Experiences Through Music Therapy”

Presenters:   Erinn Danielson, MA, MT-BC;  Katie Schwartz, MT-BC, NICU-MT, and Sarah Newberry, MA, MT-BC (Music Therapists, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota)

6/9:  “Food Allergy”

Presenter:  Allan Stillerman, MD, Allergy & Asthma Specialists, PA; Adjunct Assistant Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota

6/16:   Mortality & Morbidity Conference:  “Child Comes To Clinic Without Parent”

Presenters:  TBD (various)

6/23:  “Bad Bugs, No Drugs:  Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae”

Presenter:  William Pomputius III, MD, Medical Director, Infectious Disease, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota

6/30:  “Clinicopathologic Conference”

Presenters:  TBD (various)

No pre-registration is required!  For more information, please contact the Children’s Medical Education Office at (651) 220-6131.  We will continue to post future educational opportunities for volunteers on this site!

Child Life Conference Wrap-Up!

All in all, attending this year’s Child Life Conference in Chicago was an amazing experience!  On our final day, child life specialist Betsy Brand and I gave our presentation, “Educating Volunteers About Child Life & Family-Centered Care:  Developing An Orientation DVD.”  We showed clips of the training video that we use at orientation, and discussed the essential child life components that volunteers should know before working with hospitalized children.  We had a wonderful, engaged group who asked lots of great questions, and Betsy & I really enjoyed interacting with them!

After our presentation, we attended the Closing Ceremonies, where two extremely cool things took place:  (1)  Child Life Manager Sheila Palm received the Child Life Council’s Distinguished Service Award (congrats, Sheila!), and (2)  we were treated to a performance from The Penguin Project, an organization that provides musical theatre performance opportunities for children with disabilities.  It was, without a doubt, an incredibly inspiring way to end the conference!



Child Life Conference, Day 3!

It’s Saturday in Chicago!   Today was the last full day of this year’s Child Life Conference:  the closing session wraps up at 12:30 pm tomorrow. 

My day started at 7:45 am by attending a meeting of the Child Life Council’s Professional Resources Committee, which I am a new member of!  It was great to connect with the other committee members and put faces to names that I’d only seen via e-mail.  I continued the day by attending sessions on compassion fatigue, humanism in medicine (i.e., incorporating child life concepts into medical student curricula), and hospital sibling play areas.  All three sessions were very relevant and informative:  the compassion fatigue session gave great ideas on how to combat work stress, the medical session provided helpful tips for teaching students about child life, and the sibling session illustrated the significant impact that hospitalization has on the brothers and sisters of pediatric patients.  (I’m so thankful that Children’s has a dedicated Sibling Play Area to support these sibs on their journeys!)

One of the most fun things about this conference has been running into past volunteers:  today, I ran into former Child Life Exposure Student Maria Gaebel, who is donating her time as a conference volunteer.  It was awesome to see her!

Betsy and I present our session on educating volunteers tomorrow morning from 8:30-10 am…wish us luck!  Our presentation will be followed by this year’s closing ceremonies, including the presentation of the Child Life Council’s Distinguished Service Award.   This ceremony will be particularly exciting, as Children’s-MN Child Life Manager Sheila Palm is receiving this award!  Sheila is an amazing person & true advocate for children, so it will be wonderful to celebrate her and all that she does for child life staff and volunteers alike.

I’ll post a “final write-up” of our conference presentation when I return to the office on Monday!  Until then, have a WONDERFUL Memorial Day weekend!

:) Jenna

Child Life Conference, Day 2!

Happy Friday from Chicago!  It was another eventful day here at the Child Life Conference.  A few highlights:

  • The Emma Plank Opening Keynote Address, delivered by developmental pediatrician Dr. Larry Gray:  Dr. Gray’s talk revolved around infant development, and how crucial early relationships are to a child’s success later in life.
  • Cheering on Children’s child life specialists Jodi Betsinger and Stephanie Smith during their presentation on the use of nitrous oxide for pediatric sedation. 
  • Valuable afternoon breakout sessions, such as “Employee Engagement–Why It Matters” and “On-The-Job Training for New Child Life Specialists.”

The conference Exhibit Hall opened this evening, so it was also a lot of fun to walk around and chat with the (nearly 70!) exhibitors.  Some exhibitors I recognized, such as CaringBridge and Beads of Courage, but there were also a large number of new & innovative companies/products.  The most creative, I thought, came from a company called Kelsey’s Kids:  they make “marshmallow launchers” to help kids with respiratory difficulties move air through their lungs in a fun & humorous way!  (I now have my own complimentary marshmallow launcher to bring back to Minnesota…YAHOO!)  Overall, it was another great day of networking, sharing time with my Children’s-MN colleagues, and meeting many new child life specialists from around the globe!  I’ll share highlights from Day 3 tomorrow!

Until then,

Jenna :)

Welcome to the Windy City! (Child Life Conference, Day 1)

Hello from Chicago!  As I type this, I can see the University of Chicago & Chicago Tribune buildings against the city skyline…I could definitely get used to this view! :)

I’m so thankful to be here, attending the 29th Annual Child Life Conference on Professional Issues.  Earlier this morning, I had a chance to spend time with several child life colleagues from Children’s-MN, then attended a “half-day intensive” session called “Supporting The Healing Community Through Interactive, Closed-Circuit Television.”    (Amy Peterson, director of Children’s Star Studio programming, was also in attendance at this session!)   The presenters were from Skylight TV, the interactive TV channel at Children’s Memorial Hospital here in Chicago.  Their presentation was filled with video clips of their various patient shows, including visits from celebrity guests like Mr. Rogers, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Yo-Yo Ma.  One of the neatest parts of their talk (for me, at least!) was hearing how volunteers are being plugged into supporting these programs!

In the evening, the Child Life Council held a “First-Time Attendees/New Members” gathering.   Since this is my first time at the conference, I signed up for this event…and I’m so glad that I did, since I ran into past volunteer/intern Laura Blayney!  (It was great to see her!)  I also attended a “Professional Networking Roundtable” later in the evening, and thoroughly enjoyed chatting with other professionals from Alabama to Missouri about their role(s) in supervising child life volunteers.  To top off the night, my wonderful co-presenter, Betsy Brand, and I rehearsed our presentation for Sunday morning.  It will be an honor to speak in front of other child life specialists/volunteer supervisors later this weekend.

Tomorrow marks the “official start” of the conference, with the Opening Keynote Session scheduled for 8:30 am!  I’ll be back with a “Day 2″ update tomorrow night!

Until then,

Jenna :)

MAVA Conference Wrap-Up!

Our apologies!  Due to an unpredictable WiFi connection, we were unable to blog daily from the Minnesota Association of Volunteer Administrators (MAVA) Conference, as anticipated!  Our entire department enjoyed three days of learning from May 18-20 at the Kelly Inn & St. Cloud Civic Center.

Highlights from the event:

  • Hearing from the director of a large hospital system in British Columbia, presenting on “How The Olympics Made Me A Better Volunteer Manager” (she processed over 70,000 volunteer applications for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics!)
  • A session highlighting collaborations with volunteers from immigrant (Hmong, Hispanic, & Somali) communities
  • A keynote address & multiple workshops by Andy Fryar, founder of OzVPM (a volunteer consulting company in Australia & New Zealand)
  • A keynote address from Linda Graff (another international volunteerism consultant) on the value of volunteerism
  • A workshop on obtaining the CVA (Certified in Vounteer Administration) credential 
  • Our department’s own Lisa Munson & Sandy Bergeron, in collaboration with Jay Haapala (Minnesota Children’s Museum) and Shelli Beck (Lyngblomsten Care Center), presenting on “Weaving Agency Needs With Today’s Youth”
  • Time to network with volunteer coordinators & directors from across the state, nation, & world!

The conference was a wonderful experience, and we were truly fortunate to have the opportunity to get away for a few days!  Huge thanks to volunteers Kathy Dowd, Diane Kastner, and Maria Miller, who generously provided office coverage for us last week!

P.S.  May is a month of conferences for us here in Volunteer Services…volunteer coordinator Jenna Barke will be traveling to Chicago to present at the National Child Life Conference this coming weekend (May 25-29), so she will be blogging about her experiences there, as well!

Lunch & Learn Opportunity!

All Children’s employees & volunteers are invited to an upcoming Lunch & Learn session!
Topic:  “Social Media, Online Safety, and Cyber-Bullying: What Health Care Workers Should Know”
When & Where:   Tuesday, May 17, 12-1 pm, Children’s-St. Paul (John Nasseff Center-Miller Room)
Tuesday, June 14, 12-1 pm, Children’s-Minneapolis (Conference Center)
Speakers:  Jessica Kracl, Policy Coordinator; Cavan Reagan-Reichmann, Interactive Communications Coordinator; Jesse Stremcha, E-Philanthrophy Strategist, & Peter Odegaard, Information Security Officer 
We invite you to bring your lunch & join us for one of these sessions!



Surgery Volunteer Recognition Luncheon

Our Perioperative Services division truly could not function without the assistance of our wonderful Family Waiting Room volunteers and Perioperative Escorts.  Today, the Perioperative department was kind enough to host a recognition luncheon for all surgery volunters.  (A special thanks to Perioperative Administrative Assistant Kim Bennett for her work in arranging this event!)

The following surgery staff members attended the event to express their thanks to department volunteers:

Gloria Drake, Senior Director,  Perioperative Services

Pat Buzzell, Patient Care Manager, OR

Laurie Young, Patient Care Manager, Pre-Op/PACU

Dr. David Schmeling, Chief of Surgery

At the event, Gloria read two quotes about volunteers that sum up our feelings exactly:

1.  “Those who can, do.  Those who can do MORE, volunteer!”

2.  “Volunteers don’t get paid…not because they are worthless, but because they are priceless!”

Thank you, surgery volunteers, for all of your incredible work!

Our wonderful surgery volunteers! Front row, L to R: Fran Larson, Robin Friedlander, Fay Sullivan, Maurine Shink, Susie Smith, Jory Herman, & Geri Timperley. Back row, L to R: Barb Noecker, Allison Bradee, Kathy Dowd, Jan Nelson, Marilyn Quamme, & Lynda Summerville.

Volunteer for Children’s 2011 NICU Reunion & “Baby Steps” 3K Walk!


Children’s will be hosting its 27th Annual NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) Reunion and “Baby Steps” 3K Walk on Saturday, June 4 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.  This is always a meaningful event for former NICU patients and families, providing them with the opportunity to gather, share stories, reconnect with their doctors and nurses, and engage in lots of fun family activities.  There are several areas in need of volunteers for this event, ranging from kids’ activities and water stations to family registration and photo booths.  Volunteers are typically asked to arrive around 7/7:30 am to assist with set-up, and are done by noon at the latest (depending on which areas they’re assigned to).

Please click here for more information about this year’s event, including links to last year’s photos on Facebook!

Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of Minnesota operates the largest high-risk neonatal referral center in the region.  Children’s neonatal program sees 2,700 inpatient admissions per year, and over 35 percent of our infants are considered “low” or “very low” birth weight. 

If you are interested in lending a hand at this special time for NICU families, please contact Julie Yang in the Children’s Foundation at (651) 855-2829, or [email protected].

Patient Safety Discussion Coming Up!


All Children’s employees, professional staff and volunteers are invited to a patient safety discussion, “Current Issues Impacting Patient Safety,” on May 12 from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the Children’s-Minneapolis Education Center.

The featured presenter will be Michael Leonard, M.D. He is a faculty member at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a Principal at Pascal Metrics, and the former Physician Leader for Patient Safety at Kaiser Permanente.  At the conclusion of this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the importance of effective leadership behaviors within an organization to improve safety culture and drive improvement.
  • Learn how safety culture measurements can be used to drive improved quality and collaboration among caregivers.
  • Appreciate how communication failures are the root cause of the overwhelming majority of unanticipated adverse events in health care.
  • Learn about the value of specific teamwork behaviors and tools to enhance communication and improve the delivery of safe care.
  • Appreciate the inherent clinical value of having a structured and consistent approach to the interpretation of clinical information and responding to such.
  • Learn that there are valuable metrics that can guide our journey to excellence in clinical care.

We invite you to join this discussion on patient safety!