Matt McConnell

Matt McConnell, BSN, RN, CPN

Surgery / Periop
Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
Cincinnati, Ohio
United States
Our son shared his dreams with Matt. I truly think this day will be one that our son will remember forever, where he received both encouragement and education. Our surgery prep session turned into a Nursing 101 class.

Matt made what could have been a frightening and stressful experience quite positive. He was thorough and careful, kind and compassionate, and, even though he was with our family for a relatively short time, made an exceptional effort to connect with our son on a personal level. We will never forget this day, not because it was a day that our son had to have surgery, but instead because it truly affirmed our son's goal of going to college to become a nurse.

Our 16-year-old son has plans to pursue a career in the medical field, specifically nursing. Whenever we are in a healthcare setting, our son uses the opportunity to educate himself on all of the possible careers in this field. This day was no different. Of course, it was extra special to have a male nurse. Our son shared his dreams with Matt. I truly think this day will be one that our son will remember forever, where he received both encouragement and education. Our surgery prep session turned into a Nursing 101 class. Matt explained everything, from strategies to placing an IV, to each and every step of the surgical process. Of course, in addition to educating our son, it put him at ease at the same time. Matt shared his story of how he got into nursing, the different paths he has taken, and gave our son advice on all of the different opportunities available to him in nursing. Matt was so positive about his experience as a nurse and gave our son such considered and thoughtful guidance as he begins to prepare for his own college experience. Not only did our son take this information all to heart, but we can definitely see him paying this experience forward one day, in any career that he chooses. This was above and beyond a nurse caring for a child--this was an adult acting as a role model and guide to inspire someone younger. We need more of these moments in this world.

Our son was particularly nervous about getting an IV. In his experience, they have always been particularly painful and scary. Matt turned this necessary experience into an educational lesson. We can see that he must also be an excellent instructor. He talked to our son about all of the necessary equipment, demonstrated how everything worked and its role in placing the IV and delivering fluids. He continued the lesson, calmly explaining each and every step, as he placed the IV. Our son didn't even realize he had done it because he was so engaged and asking questions.

Although our son has been hospitalized before, he has never had surgery. He was particularly nervous. Matt turned the entire experience into one of learning and education. Some were specific to our son's particular procedure, but some were more general. We know that time is often of the essence in a surgical setting since there are many other patients to manage. But he made us feel like we were the only patients on the floor. We know that our son uses each experience in a hospital or doctor’s office as a time to evaluate a career in healthcare. Matt was truly a poster child for a career in nursing and all of the fulfillment that this career path provides.

We know that there is a standard checklist of questions and procedures that all must be done in a surgical prep setting. Matt was definitely thorough in making sure that our son was prepared for this surgery. However, it was done so personally. He made a special connection with our son as a person, not just as a patient. This surgery was relatively minor and our son is 16, on the older side of patients in a pediatric unit. A nurse could have just taken us through the motions and we would have been fine. Matt didn't do that. He so immediately picked up on our son's interests and personality. We will never forget the positive impact he made on our son that day.