A Look Inside Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S.

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The thought of undergoing surgery is scary enough for an adult. Imagine what it’s like for a child. Stark white walls, cold empty hallways, and cramped waiting rooms are far from healing. As patients, a “home away from home” experience is what we want but it’s not always what we get. The people of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida are doing everything they can to make this experience a reality for children and their families.

What some may consider bells and whistles are just the essentials for Golisano: large televisions and gaming consoles in each room, iPads loaded with kid-friendly games and programs for patients to use, and sleeper sofas so that parents and caregivers can stay the night with their child. Not to mention, all patient rooms are private and designed in a way that nurses can supervise through windows, limiting both noise and interruptions.

golisano children's hospital of southwest florida

“We encourage family-centered care by providing private rooms, including in the NICU. We also have a Ronald McDonald Family Room, which provides free on-the-go meals as well as free laundry services to families,” said Anna Stephanz, BS, CCLS, Certified Child Life Specialist at Golisano. “If a patient is hospitalized during their birthday or a holiday, our child life specialists create a celebratory environment for them.”

golisano children's hospital of southwest florida

Upon arrival at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida, children are greeted with a stuffed animal.  When they get to their rooms, after admission, they get to choose the color of the LED light that lines their windows. Anyone driving by the hospital at night is treated to an ever-changing color pattern, specifically designed for them by the children receiving treatment at Golisano, with in-room LED lighting controlled by the children.

golisano children's hospital of southwest florida

Golisano is more than a place where children get treated. It’s a place where children can feel empowered – where they get to choose. Before surgery, children can choose between four Power Wheel cars as their mode of transportation into the operating room. These cars are more than a novelty – they help ease young patients’ anxieties during separation from their parents.

golisano children's hospital of southwest florida

On top of that, patients get to choose the style and color of their surgical cap. This is the product of a 22-year strong initiative called “Sew Angelic™” created by the caregivers at The Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida (now Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida) more than 20 years ago. Through these keepsake caps, perioperative nurses can connect with young patients and help ease their fears. The hats made by Sew Angelic™ have made an incredibly positive impact on patients’ surgical experience to the point that children start looking for their caps upon admission.

From the creators of Sew Angelic™:

“The universally recognized symbol of a nurse is a cap, yet most nurses shed their caps long ago. Perioperative nurses, however, have retained a cap of sorts; our distinctive surgical caps. Through the Sew Angelic™ program, we share the surgical caps that symbolize our continued dedication to compassionate nursing care.”

“The children don’t choose to get sick or to come to the hospital. They do get to choose their surgical cap, the color of the bandage around their IVs, and how they enter the operating room, whether through a wagon or a racecar,” said Sandi Falk, BSN, RN, CNOR, co-creator of the Sew Angelic™ program.

In the most difficult of situations, Golisano has made every effort to allow kids to be kids, to help them cope, and to put their parents at ease. We couldn’t be more excited to name Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida as Soliant’s 2018 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S.

Golisano Children's Hospital of Southwest Florida

 

Take a virtual tour of Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida here.

Click here to learn more about Soliant’s Most Beautiful Hospitals in the U.S.

Already have a 2019 Most Beautiful Hospital in the U.S. nomination in mind? Click here to submit yours today.

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SLP Spotlight – Alexa Herbers

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Autism Spectrum Disorder remains misunderstood for many of us. Like a puzzle, it takes serious evaluation and consideration to try to understand autism. Fortunately for us, there are those who dedicate their careers to helping people on the spectrum find relief in what they may sometimes perceive as a big, confusing, and scary world. People like speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, school psychologists, and special education teachers help us see the world from “their” eyes.

Today, we’re so excited to introduce you to Alexa Herbers, a Soliant SLP who plays a vital role in the Autism Program of her Colorado school district. In today’s post, Alexa talks about working with children on the Autism spectrum and how they’ve made a permanent impact on her life.

What is your personal connection to autism?

I first met someone with Autism when I was in high school. I grew up volunteering with TOPSoccer, an organization that gives people with many types of disabilities a chance to join a soccer team. In high school I was also in a club that paired typically developing students with those with developmental disorders. From then on, I’ve yet to have a season of life where I’ve not been positively impacted by people with disabilities.

As an SLP, what are the biggest struggles of dealing with a child with autism?

The biggest struggle I face working with children with Autism is consistency. Many of these kids crave consistency; whether that’s through who they interact with, daily routines, or even how their food is set up on their plate. Providing them with consistency can be tough for 24 hours of the day. I know I struggle to be in routine all the time so checking myself to make sure I’m providing students with warnings and coping strategies is essential to successful functioning for all of us.

Do you find that there is a stigma against autistic children? If so, how do you react to it?

I think the stigma has lessened over the years. I love the getting rid of the R Word movement. I still have encounters where I feel the need to educate others on their perception of the disorder. I like to explain it as that they’re just like you and I but their brain just may work a little differently. Where we may see a regular classroom, a child with autism may be seeing the bright colors and background noises. When I can tell someone that I’m angry, a child with autism may show it through actions because they’re not sure how to say it. You have to shape-shift a little and try to see the reasons rather than what’s “wrong.”

What made you decide to work with children on the spectrum?

They’re my people. I’ve been told I have a calming personality so I think that might help. But honestly I’ve just always been drawn to this population of people. You have to be creative and flexible to work with children with Autism because every single child is different-it’s a spectrum! A treatment option may work well for one kid but not for another, even though they may have the same deficit. It keeps you on your toes! Plus they’re just so much fun.

What do you think are the most important qualities of a person who decides to work with children on the spectrum?

Patient, flexible, knowledgeable, loving, and willing to work with others… a lot. Your team is going to be big when you work with kids with Autism!

What advice would you give to parents who find out their children are autistic?

Breathe. Find a support group of parents of children with Autism. It’s not always an easy road so having a support team is huge. Relating to other families will give you confidence, new ideas, and a time to laugh about the major mishaps. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions!

Are you seeing the support system grow for children with autism? If so, how?

Definitely! I am so fortunate to work in a school where Autism is accepted by the majority. In a low-income area ,it’s amazing to see all the students treat each other the same way (positively). Students and teachers are always willing to lend a hand, have students join different groups, and really want to learn about the disorder as a whole. There’s a ways to go still but it’s amazing to see the little steps being made at the ground level.

Alexa is featured in our special education report, Serving Children With Autism: School Staffing Challenges. Check it out here!

Are you a special education professional who’s ready to make a difference in our schools? See our current openings here.

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My Special Nursing Moment 2016

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There are close to 4 million nurses in the United States. And, chances are,  each one has that special nursing moment he or she will never forget.

Think of your first, your current, or your last job as a nurse. What moment made a true impact on who you are today? For the third year in a row, we’re asking nurses to share their Special Nursing Moments with us in honor of National Nurses Week 2016.

By sharing your special moment in a comment below, you’ll be automatically entered to win a $100 SpaFinder gift certificate for some much needed me-time!

Soliant Health proudly celebrates National Nurses Week, May 6-12.

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Heartwarming Soliant Special Nursing Moments from years past:

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Travel Spotlight: OR Nurse Celia

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After spending 19 years as a certified surgical technologist, our featured traveler Celia decided it was time to take the leap into nursing. And now five years later as an operating room nurse, her passion for making lives better for patients is still as strong as ever. Celia talks to us about her most recent travel assignment with Soliant — one that led her to the beautiful Sonoran Desert in Tucson, Arizona.

It was Celia’s first time traveling to Tucson, AZ and, soon enough, she realized there was much natural beauty to be discovered in this diverse desert town. It was here that Celia was able to cross off one of her bucket list items: the Grand Canyon.
Continue reading “Travel Spotlight: OR Nurse Celia”

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Travel Spotlight Q&A: IR/ICU RN Annie

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Traveler-Spotlight-HeaderIf you’ve ever been away from home, you’ve likely felt the sense of freedom from being in a different place. For most of us, a vacation is our only dedicated time for traveling. Then there are those who have dedicated their entire careers to traveling and exploring unfamiliar places. Take Annie P., a Soliant Interventional Radiology nurse, who is about to embark on her sixth healthcare travel adventure. That’s right — sixth! Even more impressive, she’s heavily involved in training for a triathlon despite her busy work and play schedule. As our featured traveler, Annie shares in-depth glimpses into life on the road and how it has changed her outlook on life.  Continue reading “Travel Spotlight Q&A: IR/ICU RN Annie”

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