I provide anesthesia care to pediatric patients at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. My practice involves providing anesthesia in the OR, GI suites, MRI, CT scan, radiation oncology, and interventional radiology.
After graduating from nursing school, I practiced adult critical care for 12 years. Looking for a change, I decided to enroll in anesthesia school. It was during this time that I made the decision to work with the pediatric population instead of adults. I am so glad I did! The pediatric population presents unique challenges every day.
A typical day might begin by caring for a six week old infant while the following case maybe an 8 year old, followed by a 2 and 16 year old, respectively. These varying ages have vastly different anesthetic requirements as well as physical and emotional needs. For example, a toddler may have significant separation anxiety while a teenager may have fear of exposure of body parts, scarring, pain, and even death. Language, choice of words, and communication are crucial and can vary greatly from case to case. Many conditions such as cerebral palsy, mental retardation, cancer, heart defects, chromosome abnormalities, and autism add potential complex challenges. Another dimension to providing anesthesia care is to educate and reassure parents that there children are in good hands and will be well taken care of.
In conjunction with my job at Vanderbilt, I have become involved in global health care. The Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital has a relationship with the Shalom Foundation, which provides pediatric surgical care in Guatemala. My first surgical mission trip to Guatemala was in 2006. It was an eye opener. I learned to improvise my anesthesia care, and the overwhelming needs and appreciation of the patient population will always stand out in my memory. After many trips, I now serve in an advisory role. I have met others within the Vanderbilt global health community and participated on the steering committee for the Nursing Leadership in Global Health 2014 conference held here in Nashville.
This past year, I have been involved on the Professional Development Committee and served as Co-Chair. This has allowed me the chance to meet many other APN’s outside of anesthesia. With the support of my manager and educator, I have been able to bring the Shared Governance model to the pediatric CRNA group which has been well received.
My career highlights begin with graduating from Vanderbilt University School of Nursing in 1989. Three years later, I completed my MSN at Vanderbilt as an Adult Health Clinical Nurse Specialist. After 12 years of working in the ICU and as a teaching assistant and clinical instructor, I chose to broaden my career and attend anesthesia school, graduating in 2005 from Middle TN School of Anesthesia.
In my spare time, my husband and I enjoy our five Italian Greyhounds. (Man 14yrs, Prada 11yrs, Bailey 7yrs, and Porsche and Paris both 2yrs). Gone, but not forgotten, were Chanel, Mercedes, Bentley, and Jags (the cat). In addition, I enjoy caring for my Koi fish pond and practicing yoga which I have done for many years