Heidi Childs

Heidi Childs, BSN, CPN

PACU
Children's Hospital Colorado
Aurora, Colorado
United States

I have had the pleasure of working with Heidi for the past fourteen years and I am thrilled to see her walk on to the unit each day because of her joyful spirit and ability to consistently create a positive working environment. There is no patient or task that Heidi will not take on with total commitment and a smile. Heidi can joke about the mundane things and can speak to all the important things about excellent patient care at Children's. Heidi is a consummate team player, always seeking out who might need help with a patient or an explanation or a procedure.

Heidi has chosen to grow her nursing career over the past several years moving from a flex position to part time staff nurse to a team leader and clinical III PACU nurse. This has been joyful to watch as her manager. Heidi's increasing engagement with the unit and with the staff has gained her a strong reputation as a nurse leader in the PACU. I have consistently heard staff comment on Heidi's great ability to "run the room", how fair she is with patient assignments and how Heidi supports the nurse at the bedside.

Heidi was one of the first PACU nurses to become certified and as a CN III has identified various quality improvement needs in the PACU and has made them important projects. One of these projects has to do with handoff and communication to ensure better communication between PACU nurses and the unit nurses receiving our patients. Heidi recognized a need for better communication and identified a nurse from the 6th floor from her previous time on Clinical Practice Council to work with on this joint venture. Heidi has actively engaged quality representatives and unit nurses to work and compromise on solutions to this problem. The product has been an excellent handoff tool currently being utilized by PACU and 6th floor to improve patient outcomes by standardizing the handoff process. Heidi is continuing this great work and has also identified a need to improve patient identification upon handoff to another unit. Ultimately we would like to bring this handoff tool to all units we interact with.

Heidi has excellent communication skills and continues to work and grow in this area. Heidi can discuss an issue and then problem solve how to handle this in a positive and professional way. Heidi has come to me at times to "rehearse" how to have crucial conversations. Heidi took time to speak with one of our newer staff nurses when she was really struggling with how she spoke with other staff. Heidi was able to identify her good intent behind some of her harsh remarks and was able to bring this to her attention in a kind and helpful manner. Instead of ignoring or worse yet talking about this staff nurse, Heidi was able to support her and help her grow professionally to be a stronger part of the team. Heidi can tackle problems head on without having others feel threatened or belittled.

Heidi delivers excellent family centered care every day, making families feel attended too and welcome as well as informed and cared for. One example of Heidi's commitment to excellence came with a possible negative repercussion, but knowing what was best for the child led Heidi to move forward with compassion and concern. Two young parents sat by their baby's crib texting on their phones while the baby was crying in the post-operative period. Acknowledging that these young parents may not know what to expect or do, Heidi removed judgment, asked them to put their phones away and began to teach the young couple how to care for and comfort their baby. Heidi went the extra step to be a nurse educator with wonderful outcome. I later walked by the family as the mother rocked this newborn and dad was now attentive to their needs.

Heidi has been an active participant in the initial and ongoing fledgling surgical mission trips to Guatemala over the past two years. This year she is leading the PACU staff commitment to Guatemala, by educating the new nurses to this project, along with working with the core group, sharing her experiences to create a positive, fulfilling visit for the third year. Heidi's compassion for the children and families in Guatemala is amazing as she works on conversing with them in Spanish, along with spending time prior to the trip making blankets and gathering toys to give to each child after surgery. So many of these children have nothing, but Heidi ensures they all have a warm snuggly blanket before they leave.

Heidi Childs is the essence of what nursing at Children's Hospital Colorado is. She lives the motto, "for the sake of a child" everyday through her commitment to excellence, her kindness, compassion and her love for the families she cares for.