Healthy Kids - Spring 2021

Truong won an award for the project and has been asked to present on it in various settings. For her, this is yet another way to tap into her love of teaching. “If you become an expert in something and keep it to yourself, that’s no fun!” she says. “You should share that knowledge and make it go far.”

surgery—a brief encounter that means the world to both her and her young patients. “In the OR, a lot of the kids are really scared about surgery. Part of my job is to quickly build a rapport with them,” she says. “I only have a short time with them, so I take that time to tell them it’s okay to be scared. One of my favorite things is when they ask me to hold their hand. That’s the best part, because I’m there to keep them safe. I don’t have kids of my own, so I tell parents I’m going to take care of your baby like they’re my baby.” One part hand holder, one part parent educator and worry easer, Witt takes pride in working hard and going the extra mile. She recently worked with the general surgery team, the NICU and the nurse educators to formulate a standard of care for NICU babies in the OR to ensure an optimal room setup for the Hospital’s most vulnerable newborns. Everything she does, she does with her mother in mind. “My mom always urged me to work to my fullest potential,” she says. “I work very hard. I spread myself around to make sure my coworkers are supported. I feel knowledgeable about my service and I take pride in my ability to do the extra role of scrubbing. My mom is the one who encouraged me to get my CNOR certification, and right after she passed away, I passed the CNOR exam. I wish she could see it, and that I could tell her that every day I keep going because I want to be like her all the time.”

“I’m providing care to the people who are providing care to pediatric patients.” Maureen Finnegan, LVN, has seen a lot of changes during the course of her 43-year nursing career, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the institution she’s called home—she has spent 42 of those years at Rady Children’s. “I knew as soon as I got out of nursing school that I wanted to work in pediatrics,” Finnegan says. “I applied at Children’s, which was at that time a small community hospital. I got a call from the blood lab, which back then needed help with brand- new instrumentation for premature babies. I took the position thinking it was my foot in the door, and ended up staying in that role for 25 years.” Finnegan trained countless staff members on how to draw blood and prepare specimens. At the time, the lab’s research was very new, and people with lab expertise were needed for various assignments. “It was always different and new, and I always thought I’d become a better nurse by knowing what was going on in the laboratory,” she says. Finnegan would eventually need to make a change, and in 2004 when the lab was restructured, she accepted a role in the Occupational Health & Safety Department. “Occupational Health is unique because our patients are the employees, so it’s a different type of nursing. We work with new hires, employee vaccinations and staff who have workplace injuries. My specialty is worker’s compensation—helping people navigate the system so they can get help if they get injured at work,” she says. Like many people, Finnegan had to pivot with the onset of the pandemic, focusing on employee risk and exposure, contact tracing, testing, results and clearance. “Our business went through the roof!” she says. “Occupational health has worked closely with infection control throughout, and now it’s finally coming full circle. With the vaccine here, there’s hope.” As she plans for retirement, Finnegan looks back fondly on the decades she’s spent at Rady Children’s, and time she’s spent learning the specialty of occupational health. “We really care about our employees and making sure they’re getting seen, being helped and staying healthy,” she says. “In an indirect way, that’s how we help the patients. It’s a trickle-down effect. I’m providing care to the people who are providing care to pediatric patients. We’re a little farther removed, but just as instrumental to the organization—because you can’t run an organization without employees.” “I’m going to take care of your baby just like it’s my baby.” Daniella Witt, RN, BSN, CNOR, always knew she’d be an operating room nurse. She had the most inspirational role model. “I got into nursing because my mother was an OR nurse. She was a guiding light for what I wanted to be in life,” she says. “She unfortunately passed away, and I wish I could share all of my accomplishments with her, but every day I strive to be the nurse she’d want on her team.” A nurse since 2008, Witt is currently the general surgery and gynecology service coordinator in the OR at Rady Children’s. In this role, she sees patients before they go into

DAN I ELLA WI TT, RN , BSN , CNOR General Surgery and Gynecology

Service Coordinator, OR, Rady Children’s Hospital


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