Stories about: nursing

Prepared for anything

In the early 1970s, an Eastern Air Lines flight crashed into the Florida Everglades, killing 99 people on board. It was later discovered that the crash happened because the flight crew was overly fixated on a burnt-out indicator light—they were so focused on trying to fix the malfunctioning light that they failed to notice the plane’s autopilot was disengaging. With time the plane slowly lost altitude and eventually crashed.

Like the nurses around me, I listen in stunned silence as Boston Children’s Tara Kelly, BSN, RN, CNRN tells this story at a Community Education Initiative (CEI) lecture for school nurses. As Kelly described the scenario, all in attendance wondered the same thing—how could a simple lapse in teamwork cause such chaos?

Of course, this is exactly the point—or at least one of the points—Kelly and her colleagues hope to impress upon their audience.

Hopefully most school nurses will never find themselves in a situation as dire the one faced by the Eastern Air Lines flight crew, but the story’s underlying theme of placing importance on communication and teamwork still rings very true, and is at the heart of the Crisis Resource Management (CRM) course CEI Program Coordinator Stephanie Porter, MSN, RN offers to school nurses across the state.

Michael Ellsessar's parents John and Luann, 2nd and 3rd from left, spoke at the event. Since Michael's passing, the Ellsessars have become school safety advocates

CRM is one of the newest additions to educational programs for school nurses offered by CEI, which provides training to over 1,300 school nurses annually. Last year, Porter, along with Louise Quigley, DNP, RN-BC, Maureen Pursley, BSN, RN, Jayne Rogers, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, Kate Donovan, BS, PhDc, and Judi Naar, set out to create a simulation-based training program for emergency response teams. The group presented a curriculum to the School Nurse Leaders of Greater Boston in May 2012—the same month Governor Deval Patrick passed “Michael’s Law.”

Read Full Story

Boston Children’s Nurses: Local care, global teaching

Boston Children's nurses demonstrate care techniques to an audience of thousands. Photo courtesy of Toni Imprescia, RN, CCRN

In a hospital in Guatemala—3,400 miles from Boston Children’s Hospital—a group of Boston Children’s nurses is teaching a class on how to use surgical safety checklists to improve safe perioperative practice.

Another group of nurses and physicians is sitting in on the same class, 10,000 miles away in Viet Nam. From Bangladesh to El Salvador, clinicians don’t need to leave their hospitals to benefit from the expertise of Boston Children’s staff—they just need a computer and an Internet connection.

The idea to have Boston Children’s nurses produce and broadcast educational webinars to hospitals in resource-limited countries started with Patricia Hickey, PhD, MBA, RN, FAAN, vice president of Cardiovascular/Critical Care Services, and Kathy Jenkins, MD, MPH, senior vice president and chief safety and quality officer. When the two attended the Global Forum on Humanitarian Medicine in Geneva in 2008, they discussed how the hospital could make a difference in the global health landscape. Although they encountered representatives from many countries who were interested in learning from Boston Children’s, the cost of traveling to each interested hospital was always going to be prohibitive—but the cost of broadcasting online to all of them at once was minimal.

Read Full Story

Children’s Global Health: A return to Haiti

Michael Felber, RN, is a nurse at Children’s Hospital Boston. He spent two weeks as a medical volunteer in Haiti in March of 2010, in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated the country. The following February he returned with a group of clinicians from the Global Surgery Program at Children’s, to work at a hospital founded by Partners In Health. While there he met a child who changed his understanding of the relationship between caregiver and patient. This is the second half of his story, for the first blog entry, click here.

Louveda's first day in Boston
It took two months to get Louveda to Boston. I communicated by phone and email with Sybill and David weekly. I was sure that it would eventually be possible to get her here, but I feared for her well being in the meantime. I work part-time at Shriners Burn Hospital, so I know of too many children who died waiting for their immigration paperwork to be processed.


I was working a night shift at Children’s Hospital Boston when Louveda finally arrived, accompanied by David. Jay, one of the nurses from the Children’s team, met her at the gate, brought her to the ambulance that would take her to Shriners Hospital. When I made my way to Shriners Hospital’s Acute Care Unit the next morning after my shift, I felt a wave of relief and gratitude when I saw her name on the board behind the nurse’s station.

She was frail but remarkably upbeat. It had been months since we had last seen each other, but she greeted me as if I had just stepped out for the afternoon, and told me she wanted to visit my house. She was clearly enjoying her new surroundings, but you could also sense her nervousness. She asked every new person she met if they were going to “take [her] skin.” She was still hugely protective of her wounds, and unsure of her new caregivers.

Read Full Story

National Nurses Week

Today marks the end of Children’s Hospital Boston’s celebration of National Nurses Week. In honor of the occasion here are some recent Thrive stories featuring our nursing community.

Children’s nurses teach in Cambodia. Since December 2009, a group of nurses, physicians and therapists from Children’s has dedicated themselves to setting up a “Sister PICU” (pediatric intensive care unit) program between Children’s and the National Pediatric Hospital (NPH) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Children’s nurses Maureen Hillier and Kim Cox talk about the weeks they spent training Cambodia nurses, 9,000 miles away from home, in Phnom Penh.


Eva Gomez, MSN, RN

Life “inside the rails.” Eva Gomez, MSN, RN, is a nurse and staff development specialist at Children’s. In the following piece Eva explains how her recent heart surgery has renewed her appreciation for life and inspired her to be an even better care provider.


Preparing for disaster. The recent devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan forced many American families to think about their own disaster preparedness plans. But for families with children who have special medical needs, such preparation can mean the difference between life and death. John Murray, PhD, RN, Children’s director of Nursing Research in Surgical Programs and the Emergency Department, offers tips for parents and children with special medical needs on how they can make their own plans for dealing with disaster should it strike.


Finally, here’s a piece written by Meaghan O’Keeffe, RN, who practices at Children’s Preoperative Clinic. She sees hundreds of patients every year, each with their own specific needs and backgrounds. It’s a demanding job, but Meaghan says the challenge and satisfaction associated with treating such a wide range of patients is exactly what she loves about nursing.

Read Full Story