News>Pediatrics puts heart into children's health care
U.S. Air Force Capt. Andrea Guardenier, 99th Medical Group pediatrician, uses a ophthalmoscope to play with Soquel Baumgardner, daughter of Tech. Sgt. Jay Baumgardner and Adelaide Baumgardner April 5, 2012 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 99th Medical Group's pediatric clinic provides a friendly atmosphere for children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William P.Coleman)
Amanda Polk, wife of Senior Airman Jeremiah Polk, 99th Security Forces confinement specialist, comforts their daughter Miah after she received vaccinations from Senior Airman Zeraiacob Kidune, 99th Medical Group immunizations technician April 5, 2012 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The 99th Medical Group's pediatric clinic now offers immunizations within the clinic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. William P.Coleman)
by Senior Airman Jack Sanders
99th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
4/17/2012 - NELLIS AIR FORCE BASE, Nev. -- Walking through a hospital can be an ominous task for many. For a child, the long, pristine hallways can be even more daunting -- unless they're walking through the hallways of the Mike O'Callaghan Federal Medical Center pediatrics clinic.
Like most other aspects of the hospital, the pediatrics clinic is focused on customer service. The pediatrics clinic also knows its customers are children.
The staff has made an extra effort to provide a comfortable, soothing environment and the difference is noticeable right away on arrival. After check in, the reception desk gives out age appropriate books for children to read while waiting. Even the walls are welcoming, with cartoon decorations painted on the walls.
"The pediatric clinic is friendly and caring," said 1st Lt. Nancy Branch, 99th Medical Operations Squadron clinical nurse. "All our providers are really friendly and so are our techs."
The clinic is focused on providing the best possible care to kids, and Branch says good treatment includes treating its patients well.
"For us, it's about the child's comfort," Branch said. "To get them really comfortable we will play with them, talk to them and give out lollypops and books."
Branch said the clinic's responsibility for children's health extends beyond the immediate visit. The clinic makes an effort to promote kids' long term healthy growth by giving parents important and potentially lifesaving information, and through preventive care.
"We offer point of service care now for immunizations," Branch said. "So, rather than getting your appointments here and then going to immunizations for your vaccines, we do everything here."
The clinic also offers telephone consultation, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder seminars, dietary counseling and asthma education.
"Col. [Howard] Reid, the commander, has an ADHD seminar he's holding once a month now," Branch said. "It's offered to the first six families that sign up monthly. Those families sit through a session where the educates them on ADHD and in the last 30 minutes of the seminar patients can ask any questions they need to or want to."
Branch said the clinic advertises sign-ups for the class as patients come in, but also actively reviews patient files to screen for ADHD and will contact the parents directly to offer the option. She says the clinic is actively extending its services to make health care access easier.
"The colonel is also a child psychologist," Branch added. "That used to be something we'd send parents off base for, but now we can do that here as well."
Branch noted that though the pediatric clinic has a busy office, where nine providers often see eighteen or more patients per day, the clinic's focus is fully on providing excellent care though a process of continuous improvement.
"Everbody pays a lot of attention to detail and we do a lot of training monthly just to stay up on our skills," she said.
Through cheerful bedside manner, a welcoming environment and attentive care, Branch said the clinic team is doing their best to make health care more helpful and convenient, and less frightening for their patients.
"It's really rewarding to work in pediatrics," Branch said. "It's nice just to keep the kids healthy and to just do a point of service."