As a cardiac nurse, I cared for patients one at a time as they went through heart surgery. My role was to educate and support the family, and keep the cardiac teams informed about patients in the surgical pathway.
In time, I wanted to be able to impact the care these patients received before, during and after their hospital stay. That’s when I took a leadership role in the heart program at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. It has been very fulfilling to help steer the program with a view on our number 1 priority: our patients and their families.
I have made the same journey with advocacy. One small voice promoting change to improve care for our children does not make a ripple — even in a puddle. But many people working together can improve care, locally, regionally and nationally.
Babies arrive at our hospital with late detection of critical heart disease. I have witnessed, firsthand, the harm to these little children because no one found the problem until they were gravely ill in our emergency room. It’s hard to see these kids struggle through a longer recovery and cope with lifelong problems when this could have been avoided through early diagnosis. Together, we can help all babies get properly screened via pulse oximetry checks at birth to help prevent this from happening.
Without an organized effort like Children’s Advocacy Network, legislation like pulse oximetry screenings for newborns to rule out critical heart disease would never move forward.
Let’s work together to make a difference!
As a C.A.N. advocate, I receive emails about important issues and it is up to me to contact my elected official. It’s easy to sign up and only takes a couple of minutes. Add your voice today at www.chw.org/CANSIGNUP.
- Maryanne Kessel, MBA, RN, executive director, Herma Heart Center, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin
Herma Heart Center at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is one of the nation’s top programs for medical and surgical treatment of congenital heart defects and heart disease in children.