Stories about: Care Team

‘I try to draw the music out of people.’

Music therapy, James Danna
(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)

James Danna

Music Therapist

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I’ve been a music therapist at Boston Children’s for two years now. I always wanted to do philanthropic work my whole life, so this is an opportunity where I can use my musical talents for good. It’s a blessing to be here.

Music therapy is the utilization of music to achieve a non-musical goal — that might be bringing family members together, preparing a child for surgery or regulating a heart rate.

Every one of us is musical, so I try to draw the music out of people. I’ve seen kids speak their first words and move their arms and legs for the first time in music therapy sessions. It’s phenomenal.

I work with children all across the hospital and our satellites. It’s been wonderful seeing patients like Joy who show remarkable response to the therapeutic medium of music. I speak for all four music therapists here when I say that the person we’re working with is — in that moment — the most important person in the whole world.

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care-team-logoCaring for patients is a true team effort. Care Team highlights the dedication of the people throughout Boston Children’s who do their part to comfort and support patient families each and every day.

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‘I’m the calm before the storm.’

Sylvia(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)

Sylvia Noel Fagan

Administrative Associate, Cardiac Surgery

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I’ve been here for 18 years — first in Cardiology and now in Cardiac Surgery. I’m the administrative assistant for Drs. Emani and Kaza, but I do a little of everything. With eight surgeons and four assistants, we all help each other out.

In person, I call some of the doctors by their first names — Ram, A.K., Francis … I like that. We have a great relationship. When I have a problem, I feel like I can really talk to them. In this department, we all care for each other.

I sit at the front desk, so I’m often the first person families meet. When they come in for a consult with a surgeon, of course they’re nervous. I try to calm them down and help out by distracting the kids. Sometimes it’s too much for a child to hear how a surgeon is going to operate, so I bring them out to color or play on my computer.

I always try to put myself in our families’ position. I had a mother call the other day, and the person she was looking for wasn’t available. I could tell she needed someone to talk to, so I stayed on the phone with her for a half hour, past the time I usually leave to go home. If I were calling and the person I needed wasn’t available, I would want someone to hear me out.

It’s a stressful time, so I always try to be calm. I’m the calm before the storm.

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care-team-logoCaring for patients is a true team effort. Care Team highlights the dedication of the people throughout Boston Children’s who do their part to comfort and support patient families each and every day.

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‘Art is a great distraction.’

20160310_CareTeamPhyllis-3(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)

Phyllis Beinart

Artist-in-Residence

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I love my art cart. It’s filled with wonderful things, and I just keep adding more. I wear this apron so patients know that I’m an artist and not here to poke or prod or ask medical questions.

No matter a patient’s age or ability or language, I can find an art project we can do together. When I first go into a room, I try to quickly size up what’s going on and then offer a few different things that might work. With some of the older kids, I’ll suggest cartooning or making flip-books.

No one said ‘no’ to art today!

Art starts out as a great distraction, but once a patient becomes interested, it’s more about the experience. Kids love learning something new, and I love exposing them to something they wouldn’t normally be exposed to. That’s the teacher in me. I retired early as a public school art teacher to work here. I love it.

I try to involve the whole family, because art can be therapeutic for everyone in the room. I saw a patient last week that couldn’t use her hands. I put two markers in her hands, that way one hand could mirror the other and both could become stronger. Her mother told me it was great occupational therapy, even though that wasn’t my goal. Yay for art!close-quote

 

care-team-logoCaring for patients is a true team effort. Care Team highlights the dedication of the people throughout Boston Children’s who do their part to comfort and support patient families each and every day.

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“My cheeks hurt from smiling all day long.”

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(Katherine C. Cohen/Boston Children’s Hospital)

Paul Kadzis (“PK”)

Navigator

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I’m on the Navigator team. We offer a warm greeting — either “Welcome” or “Welcome back” — and then we ask, “Is there anything we can help you with?”

It’s a big hospital. Families are stressed. We’re here to de-stress them. Most of the time, people just need a little kindness.

A few months ago, I saw a woman sitting in the lobby who I could tell was emotionally spent. When I asked if I could help, she said, “I just can’t be strong anymore.”

Her son hadn’t been responding well to treatments, so they had come here to try something new. I said, “Look, we’re only human, it’s all right. You know what you need to do? You need to go home, get your nails done, take care of you. I’ll keep your son on my prayer list.”

And then I saw her two days later, together with her son. He was responding incredibly well to the treatment. She told me what I said was important to her and made a difference.

That’s what I love the most about my job — helping out people who are off track a little bit. I can’t walk by anyone in trouble. I just can’t do it. I’ve always been a giver, not a taker. It’s my nature.

My mom was physically challenged, while I was growing up. She was an incredible woman. Her courage, strength and sense of humor — despite unbelievable pain — are why I’m good at what I do.

People tell me that I’m always smiling. My cheeks hurt from smiling at these little ones all day long. I keep a list of the cutest kids, and they’re all on my list.

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care-team-logoCaring for patients is a true team effort. Care Team highlights the dedication of the people throughout Boston Children’s who do their part to comfort and support patient families each and every day.

Read Full Story