One of the best ways to understand what makes Medical City Children’s Hospital different—and what makes it a rewarding place to work—is to talk with the people who work here. For our patients, their families and our employees, the people of Medical City Children’s Hospital create an environment of caring and collaboration. They bring a passion and dedication that we can all be proud of.
Deb Echtenkamp, RN, MSN, CPON
Clinical Nurse Specialist, Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Program
Deb has been a pediatric nurse more than 20 years and describes herself as “blessed to work at Medical City Children’s Hospital” since 1993. She says the best thing about working at Medical City Children’s Hospital is collaborating “with such a great team of professionals who are dedicated to the care of children with cancer and blood disorders. We have a phenomenal team, from our world-renowned physicians to our excellent nursing staff, our awesome Child Life Specialists, social workers and physical therapists.”
Hear what Deb has to say about our nursing excellence and complete suite of support services by watching the video below.
When a family “walks through our doors,” Deb says, “you become a member of our family—and we treat you the way we would want our own family members treated. Your lives are precious. We understand the stress and anxiety you undergo when you seek us out at such a vulnerable time in your lives. We respect and honor the trust you put in us. We will partner with you, provide you with excellent care, and honor your family and the uniqueness of the precious lives you entrust to us.”
In her role as Clinical Nurse Specialist, Deb works exclusively with children who have cancer and blood disorders. “I meet families at the time of diagnosis and help to coordinate their overall care. I tell families my role is to make sure things go as smoothly as possible for them. I help to coordinate the team for their benefit.” She also makes sure the pediatric hematology and oncology program has the staff, equipment and other resources it needs to provide “high-quality, cutting-edge, compassionate care for the patients and families we serve.”
In addition, Deb serves as President-Elect of the Association of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Nurses (APHON). She is continuing a tradition of pediatric oncology nursing excellence. “Many of the pediatric oncology nurses have presented posters and talks at national conferences. We had the opportunity to be on the team that developed standards for administering chemotherapy in children that are used nationwide.” Deb also notes that the nursing staff at Medical City Children’s Hospital and Medical City in general has been recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) with the Magnet certification.
Deb says, “this has been an awesome institution to work at. As nurses we have a lot of independence. We have many opportunities to be involved in policy- and decision-making, working cohesively with our physicians. In our program and in all of the programs for Medical City Children’s Hospital we have access to social work, to case managers, physical therapy, occupational therapy—all the services you think of at a freestanding hospital. We also have the benefit of being a children’s hospital within a hospital. We have access to adult healthcare practitioners. And when our children with chronic illnesses become 18 or 19, we have a way to seamlessly transition them from pediatric care providers to adult care providers.”
Tiffany Morrow, RN
As someone who helps critically ill children get back to health and back home, Tiffany says, “the team we have works very hard for these children and it makes me feel so good to be part of that. The standard of care is excellent. It is just a happy, positive place to work. I enjoy coming to work every day knowing that I love my job.”
Tiffany has worked at Medical City Children’s Hospital since May 2007. Part of the reason she chose to work here was because the nursing staff members she spoke with felt fully involved in the hospital. They said that the hospital leadership really listened to them. For example, “requests are always acknowledged and benefits are based on employee participation and requests.”
When asked about her approach to caring for children and their families, Tiffany says, “I try to be open, honest and always willing to listen. I have found that families and patients always appreciate someone who will listen without judgment. I try to take care of the children as I would take care of my own.”
“Our goal is to provide a great place for physicians to practice medicine, for staff to work, and —most importantly—for patients and their families to receive great care,” John says. That starts with the appropriate commitment that pediatric care requires. “It’s very important to have all the surgical specialties and the facility that’s very focused on care for children. Children are not just little adults. They require very special care, and our physicians are trained to take care of those patients. We have the facilities, the equipment that’s needed to take care of those patients, and the staff is very passionate about taking care of children.”
John notes that Medical City Children’s Hospital has “several hundred pediatric specialists on staff, including pediatric anesthesiologists.” Together, they “enable us to do everything from the minor surgeries to the most complex surgical cases.”
Additionally, John is “very proud” of the nursing at Medical City Children’s Hospital. “We have some of the best nurses in the country here at this hospital.” As proof, he notes that Medical City Children’s Hospital was the first children’s hospital in Dallas to earn Magnet certification for nursing excellence.
Medical City Children’s Hospital also believes in the importance of family-centered care. John says that one of the particular responsibilities when caring for children is helping them understand what they’re going through. “We incorporate the entire family in that” process, including parents and siblings. “We consider them members of the caregiving team as opposed to visitors to the hospital. We are happy that we are able to provide that kind of environment.”
John arrived at Medical City Children’s Hospital in 2005. He says, “it’s very exciting to be a part of everything that is going on here. There is a real commitment to the families and the children that we take care of. This is truly an incredible place, and the quality of services we provide are second to none in the country.” John offers an overview of Medical City Children’s Hospital in the video below.
Pediatric Physical Therapist
“When I talk to people about how amazing Medical City Children’s Hospital is,” Amanda says, “I emphasize the consistent continuum of care that every staff member provides to every child, regardless of their roles in the child’s care. We treat the whole child, addressing not only their sickness, but also their emotional state and overall sense of well-being. We are big enough to meet all patient and family needs, but also small enough to be able to provide the essential individual attention for every child who walks through our doors.”
For example, Amanda once made a superhero outfit for a patient—complete with cape and mask—to convince him he could overcome any obstacle during his strength training. She says that kind of personalized approach “is necessary because each child is unique. But they all like to have fun—and so do I! I make every attempt to incorporate fun activities, parents, and even siblings.” Her examples include painting murals on windows while working on standing balance and taking a trip outside to visit a family pet while working on endurance training.
Because of her commitment to individualized care and to mentoring aspiring therapists, Amanda was selected as the winner of the Irma Bartlebaugh Ancillary Excellence Award in 2009.
Amanda joined Medical City Children’s Hospital in July 2007 “because the quality of care is outstanding. I also appreciate the wide variety of patients and the amazing staff.” She feels that “the doctors, nurses, and ancillary staff communicate openly.”