Monthly Archives: February 2012

Pediatric Grand Rounds: March

Grand rounds: Meetings at which physicians discuss the clinical case of one or more patients. Grand rounds originated as part of residency training, wherein new information was taught and clinical reasoning skills were enhanced. Grand rounds today are an integral component of medical education. They present clinical problems in medicine by focusing on current or interesting cases (

Pediatric Grand Rounds at Children’s are open to all interested volunteers!  Grand Rounds are held each Thursday from 8-9 am at the following locations:

Minneapolis Campus:

2525 Chicago Avenue, Minneapolis:  video conference shown in Medical Education Room B-870

St. Paul Campus:

255 N. Smith Avenue, St. Paul:  live presentation in the John Nasseff Conference Center

March 2012 Sessions:

3/1: “Minimally Invasive Surgery”

Presented by Patricia A. Valusek, MD, Pediatric Trauma Surgeon, Pediatric Surgical Associates

3/8: “Pediatric Sleep Medicine Lecture Series:  Snoring Children-What Should You Do With Them?”

Presented by Keith Cavanaugh, MD, Pulmonologist, Pediatric Sleep Disorders Medicine,  Pediatric Respiratory/Critical Care, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of MN

3/15:  “Emergency Medicine: Top 10″

Presented by Sam Reid, MD, Emergency Medicine, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of MN

3/22: “Clinicopathologic Conference (CPC)”

Presented by Erin King, MD, Pediatric Chief Resident, Department of Pediatrics, University of Minnesota

3/29: “Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections”

Presented by Richard Andersen, MD, Director, Medical Student Education, Children’s Hospitals & Clinics of MN

A Day in the Life of a Children’s Hospital Volunteer

Each week is different as a Children’s Hospital Volunteer! We asked Meredith Gilroy, a fantastic volunteer at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, to take us through a “typical” volunteer shift on the inpatient units.

Meredith writes:

“Volunteers at Children’s-St. Paul start off their day at the Volunteer Services office. Here, volunteers sign in, pick up their red vest, keys and the (oh-so-important!) float phone, and stop to say “hello” to Kristi and Lisa. After leaving the Volunteer Services office, it’s up to the inpatient floors to visit patients!

Meredith signs in for her volunteer shift and checks in with Lisa Munson, Volunteer Coordinator

First, I check in at the nurse’s station to see if they know of any patients who need a volunteer, and go from there. Sometimes when I’m logging in at the Volunteer Services office, Lisa or Kristi will give me a few room numbers for patients who have requested a visit from a volunteer, and I start with a visit to those rooms.

I’m a “float” volunteer here at Children’s Hospital. Float volunteers serve all the inpatient units, and are often called throughout the shift by nurses or the Volunteer Services staff, with requests to check on patients who would enjoy visiting with a volunteer. The activities volunteers do with the children on the inpatient units on a daily basis range from reading a book, watching a movie, playing a game, hanging out in the playroom, doing a craft project with the Child Life staff, or going for a ride in the Fisher Price car around the wing. Sometimes we even have a visit by one of the PAWH Program dogs! One of the many benefits to being a float volunteer is that we are able to visit every patient wing of the hospital and spend time with children anywhere, from newborns to teens.

Meredith checks in with Lois Lindquist, a nurse on the 4th floor inpatient unit, and assists with keeping the playroom tidy!

No two volunteer shifts are the same for a float volunteer!

When I first started volunteering at Children’s Hospital, I was looking to help the kids in the hospital any way I could. I never imagined how much I would take away from it. There is never a day I leave my volunteer shift without a smile on my face.”

Thank you, Meredith, for all that you share with us each day as a volunteer here at Children’s Hospital!

Nominations Open for Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program

Nominations are now being accepted for the Kohl’s Cares Scholarship Program, which recognizes community youth volunteers between ages 6-18. According to their website, Kohl’s will be awarding over $440,000 in scholarships and prizes to more than 2,200 young people this year. Nominations will be accepted until March 15th, 2012.

This annual award recognizes youth who have served their community in the past year as a volunteer. Winners will be announced at the store, regional and national level. Volunteers who are selected for the award may receive Kohl’s gift cards, recognition certificates and store posters, a monetary award to be given to a nonprofit of the volunteer’s choosing, and/or scholarships to go towards college education. Winners are chosen based on their volunteer service and the community benefit from their service.

Interested in nominating someone you know? Think that you may be a good candidate?

For more information about this program, visit the Kohl’s Cares website at

TruthPoint Survey Acknowledgment!

       ‘TruthPoint’ is a short electronic survey given to families upon patient discharge. These surveys give families the opportunity to let us know how their stay here at children’s was. A parent on the 6th floor of the Minneapolis campus made the following special remark about our fabulous volunteers:

“Volunteers here were great with children. One even brought my daughter on a small tour.”

Thank you. volunteer, for your smiles, time, and talent!  Through your efforts, you are adding ease and fun to the hospital experience!

Pre-Surgery Program: A Volunteer’s Perspective

Contributed by Leah Grengs, who has been an amazing Pre-Surgery Program volunteer since 2005! Leah writes:

“Thursday is my favorite day of the week!

For the past seven years, every Thursday night, I have helped a multidisciplinary team of Children’s staff and volunteers teach patients, siblings and parents about their upcoming surgeries at Children’s-St. Paul as part of the Pre-Surgery Program (PSP). After the program, kids who were initially scared are often excited to come back and pick out a Lip Smacker smell for their anesthesia mask. In addition to witnessing the changes in the children that occur within a few short hours, I have also spoken with staff members who rave about the difference this program makes, and have volunteered with families throughout other areas of the hospital who have told me how much the program helped. We’ve also seen families return to the program when they have another child who needs surgery. Often the parents thank me again and tell their children, “This is the girl that taught [you or name of sibling] about surgery.” Although this makes me feel super old (way older than 23), every time it happens, I glow for weeks thinking about it!

Pre-Surgery Program Volunteers Jake Starsiak, Evan (puppet), Leah Grengs and Robert Mills

In addition to PSP, I have volunteered on the inpatient units in both Minneapolis and St. Paul, the surgery waiting room in Minneapolis and the Emergency Department in St. Paul, but have always thought of PSP as my baby. Not only because I have done it for so long, but because the mission of the program resonates with me on a much deeper level.

When I was younger, I had a stroke from a brain tumor and remember waking up at Children’s after my surgery, scared and confused, while my parents and doctors started throwing all of these big words at me, such as hemorrhage, glioma and thalamus. I was paralyzed and told I would probably not be able to walk again, but that was all I understood. At PSP, we talk to the kids about special medicine air and going into a special medicine sleep. We help the kids understand what will happen and not to be afraid; that people at Children’s are nice, wear clean clothes called scrubs, and will take good care of them.

After seven years, every Thursday before PSP (and now every Tuesday for my Emergency Department shift), I still experience an excited anticipation, and wake up in the morning so happy, because I know that I will be able to make such a huge difference for Children’s patients and their families!”

Thank you, Leah, for all you do with the Pre-Surgery Program, and as a volunteer here at Children’s Hospital!

February Is Volunteer Evaluation Month!

Have you been volunteering with us here at Children’s Hospital for 6 months or longer? If so, you will soon be approached by a friendly Volunteer Services coordinator, or a staff person in the department you volunteer with, for a quick Annual Evaluation!

This evaluation process will provide volunteers with feedback about their service, and will also give volunteers the opportunity to share feedback about how things are going and what could be improved.

Have you been here for LESS than 6 months? Don’t worry; you won’t be left out!  All volunteers who have started their service within the last six months will be asked to complete an “initial competency review” to go over basic safety, infection control, and policy items!

Please be in touch at any time to share your feedback!

Volunteer Joyce Sidman Finalist for MN Book Award!

Congratulations to volunteer Joyce Sidman, who has been named a Finalist for the Minnesota Book Award in Children’s Literature! Joyce has been nominated for her book, “Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature,” illustrated by Beth Krommes. Winners for the Minnesota Book Award will be announced April 14th, 2012.

Volunteer Joyce Sidman (pictured with a past award-winning book!)

About Joyce:

Joyce Sidman is the author of many award-winning children’s poetry books, including the Newbery Honor-winning Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, and two Caldecott Honor books: Song of the Water Boatman and Other Pond Poems (also a Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award winner) and Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors (which won the Claudia Lewis Poetry Award).  She teaches poetry writing to school children and participates in many national poetry events, including the annual “Poetry Blast” at the American Library Association meeting.  Her recent book, Swirl by Swirl: Spirals in Nature, has been critically acclaimed and is a Junior Library Guild Selection. Joyce lives with her husband near a large woodland in Wayzata, Minnesota.

*Biography excerpted from Joyce’s website:

Congratulations on the nomination, Joyce, and thank you for sharing your time & talents with Children’s!

New Welcome Desk & Cafeteria in St. Paul!

Children’s-St. Paul has had so many changes in the past month! Take a walk through the 1st floor in our main hospital building (the River Tower), and you will find a new cafeteria with sunny seating where the Emergency Department once was, next to a new main Welcome Desk!

Welcome Desk Staff Lenore Loonan and Rob Ayres with Volunteer Edna Knudsen

The new 1st floor Welcome Desk hours are 6 a.m. – 9 p.m., Monday-Friday and 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. on weekends.

New Welcome Desk

New cafeteria seating at Children's-St. Paul!

Pediatric Grand Rounds: February

Grand rounds: Meetings at which physicians discuss the clinical case of one or more patients. Grand rounds originated as part of residency training, wherein new information was taught and clinical reasoning skills were enhanced. Grand rounds today are an integral component of medical education. They present clinical problems in medicine by focusing on current or interesting cases (

Pediatric Grand Rounds at Children’s are open to all interested volunteers!  Grand Rounds 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.

February 2012 Sessions:

2/2: “Humanism in Pediatric Death and Bereavement”

Presented by Janet Serwint, MD, General Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine Professor, Johns Hopkins

2/9: “Clinicopathologic Conference”

Presented by Brian Yablon, MD, Pediatric Chief Resident, University of Minnesota

2/16:  “Morbidity & Mortality Conference”

Presented by Gigi Chawla, MD, Children’s Clinic

2/23:  “Newborn Screening for Critical Congenital Heart Diseases – A Primer for Minnesota’s Primary Care Providers”

Presented by Lazaros Kochilas, MD, Amplatz Children’s Hospital;  Annemarie Saarinen, MN Newborn Heart Screening Project; and Amy Gaviglio, MN Department of Health

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!