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Small Patients, Giant Care

  • Author: Anjelica Aguilar
  • Date Submitted: Jul 14, 2022
  • Category: Team Stories

Small Patients, Giant Care

Partnership brings award-winning pediatric care.

Kaweah Health’s pediatric unit is full of brilliant colors and radiant staff members who focus their lives on serving our smallest patients and providing encouragement to parents. The results are immensely appreciated by the community — bringing your children to the hospital can be a nerve-wracking experience for parents and family members. Having such dedicated caregivers in stressful times can make all the difference in the world.

It takes a well-coordinated team to create a smooth experience for these patients and parents who find themselves in an unexpected and oftentimes scary situation. Under the watchful eye of pediatrician and Kaweah Health Medical Director of Pediatrics Julianne Randolph, DO, her nursing team, and community physicians, children who enter the hospital through the emergency room are soon stabilized and connected with one of the physicians dedicated to treating hospitalized patients, also known as hospitalists. Kaweah Health contracts these pediatric hospitalists from Valley Children’s Medical Group specifically to provide on-site care for children who are hospitalized.

The value of having pediatric hospitalists here is immense, as Dr. Randolph emphasizes, “Parents often tell us
that they love the education they received, having the same nurse during their child’s hospitalization, and the
amazing level of care. And they are thankful that they didn’t have to leave the area to get high-quality care.”
According to Dr. Randolph, this five-year-long collaboration between Kaweah Health and Valley Children’s
Healthcare allows for children to quickly receive the expertise of subspecialists when needed, without
having to leave the community. Dr. Randolph explains that while Kaweah Health can handle most common
pediatric needs, if a child requires more, they can be transferred to Valley Children’s.

Supporting the team of physicians is a compassionate and well-trained pediatric staff. Pediatric nurses receive ongoing training and have specialized certifications they must regularly renew. These high standards and requirements help to create the positive outcomes and experiences that happen here every day.

Anjelica Aguilar knows firsthand the value of having high-quality pediatric care in her hometown. She has been bringing her children to Kaweah Health for pediatric care their whole lives. “Two of my children came to the Emergency Department for emergency appendix operations, and both times the level of care was phenomenal,” Anjelica says. “The staff went so far out of the way to make sure that my children were comfortable and safe. And they always made sure that I was okay too, physically and emotionally. People ask me why I didn’t take them to Valley Children’s instead, and I tell them there’s no need – the pediatric care here is stellar.”

The pediatric unit also benefits from important collaborations with the emergency department at Kaweah Health. “We have worked really hard to improve our processes, and in conjunction with the emergency department, we have established an early-warning system that tells how ill a patient is,” Dr. Randolph explains. “This is now active in the emergency department, and it helps staff to more quickly address a critically-ill patient. Our goal here is to help when needed and to have all our team members feel supported.”

Behind this early warning system is a well-trained pediatric nursing staff certified in pediatric advanced life support. Our pediatric nurses undergo special training to better recognize and intervene quickly to children experiencing life-threatening symptoms. This additional training is completed under the guidance of a mentor, includes job shadowing in the neonatal intensive care unit, and must be renewed annually through continuing education.

The hard work and high standards have paid off. “In the beginning, parents might not know we’re here,” Dr. Randolph adds. “People who come here experience the intimate care, and they are comfortable coming back. We are honored to receive glowing reviews and many thank you notes from our families.” One of the things parents appreciate most is the hospitalists at Kaweah Health are available 24 hours a day, actually sleeping in the pediatric area and often meeting with parents multiple times each day. For a concerned parent, there is no better reassurance their child will be well-cared for. Also, the pediatric nursing team is outstanding, and they get to know each patient and their parents, which isn’t always feasible in a larger organization.

Parent and Kaweah Health Registered Nurse Maria Guerra also knows that if she needs quality care for her children, it’s close to home. She recently brought her newborn son Mateo to Kaweah Health and was immediately put at ease. “The doctors and staff treated me just like family. They knew how to talk to Mateo, make sure he was comfortable, and they treated him so lovingly,” says Maria. “Dr. Randolph explained everything in great detail, and I knew exactly what the plan for Mateo’s care was going to be. There was great communication every step of the way.”

By bringing Valley Children’s Healthcare services and physicians to Kaweah Health, we enable families to receive care locally and avoid needing to travel over 50 miles to Madera. Especially if a child is admitted to the hospital, it can be a significant hardship to have to travel back and forth to Valley Children’s. We work closely with the VCH physicians and leaders to assess our communities’ needs, and then we address them. We have brought award-winning pediatric care to Visalia.