Healthy Kids - Spring 2021


very year, National Nurses Week is celebrated May 6–12, a week to honor the health care heroes who have dedicated their career to caring for others. No matter their specialty, their role, their unit or their shift, nurses are patient advocates. Bedside warriors.

Educators. Hand holders. Whether on the front line or behind the scenes, nursing professionals tackle tough issues and use critical-thinking skills to make difficult decisions. Day in and day out, often 12 hours at a time, nurses show up, step up and raise up their patients and their families in times of sickness and health. They may be officially celebrated for one week, but their dedication is on display 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. “Rady Children’s nurses are heroes every day— for the way they care for patients, families and each other,” says Mary Fagan, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, vice president of patient services and chief nursing officer at Rady Children’s. “With their unique blend of intelligence, skill and compassion, they support children and families through what can be some of the most challenging times of their lives. Today, in the age of COVID-19, our nurses have also demonstrated extraordinary flexibility, resilience and a willingness to do whatever it takes to care for our patients and the community.” With more than 1,900 nurses on staff at Rady Children’s, it would be impossible to highlight them all individually. We’ve selected six nurses for their excellence and their representation of the incredible diversity of roles in the nursing profession—from working in occupational health and keeping the Rady Children’s team safe, to supporting complex surgical procedures, to creating tools to better care for the Hospital’s most fragile children. “These nurses stand out for their commitment to helping others while also advancing the nursing profession,” Dr. Fagan says. With their passion, dedication and commitment to exceptional care, these six Rady Children’s nurses prove that not all heroes wear capes—in fact, many wear scrubs. “I love to watch my patients progress and grow.” For Mai Truong, RN, there is no step too small in her patients’ progress. As charge nurse in the Helen Bernardy Center for Medically Fragile Children; a skilled nursing and subacute facility for children and adolescents with multiple medical, physical and developmental delays; Truong cares for patients and families facing the most complex health challenges. Yet what she sees is not sadness—instead, she sees inspiration. “I work with long-term kids—highly vulnerable patients whose parents are often scared,” she says. “One of the things I really love is that I get to watch them progress and grow. I get to see a baby come in with a tracheostomy and a ventilator, and then three years later I get to see

MA I TRUONG , RN Charge Nurse, Helen Bernardy Center for Medically Fragile Children

them walk out and maybe even eat. To say that children are resilient doesn’t even do it justice. It’s amazing to be a part of that.” Truong has been a nurse for 12 years, nearly five at Rady Children’s. She’s currently enrolled in a master’s program in nurse leadership at University of San Diego, and is also teaching a pediatrics course for nursing students at the Hospital. “It’s my first time as a clinical instructor and I love it,” she says. “Some of the students are scared to work with kids, and I love helping them get experience in pediatric nursing. I’m proud to showcase everything Rady Children’s has to offer.” One of Truong’s recent successes is a project she initiated to improve the care of patients with gastronomy tubes, or G-tubes, which provide nutrition directly to the stomach of patients who can’t eat on their own. Used by more than 90 percent of patients at the Bernardy Center, G-tubes can cause irritation or erosion, which may require wound care, medication or even surgical revision. Truong knew there had to be a better way. The team got clothes with slots to allow easier access, got products to stabilize tubing, and created a G-tube assessment tool Truong hopes will be implemented throughout the Hospital.


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