Every day at Akron Children’s, we strive to deliver compassionate care and create positive experiences for our patients and families. This month, we’re spotlighting Julie Rankin, RCCS, a pediatric cardiac sonographer, who received the following feedback from a patient family, after their recent visit:
“My (age) year old daughter had an echocardiogram this morning. She has a history of medical trauma and so can really struggle even with painless procedures. She was also anxious because of the awkwardness of the location of the test. Julie R(ankin) did the echo, and she was AMAZING! She was quick in getting her on the bed and in position. Then she started the echo and started talking to her. Right away I noticed my daughter had tears in her eyes (anxiety/panic). She was also barely answering Julie’s questions above a whisper. Julie persisted and within a few minutes had put my daughter at ease. By the end of it, my daughter was laughing and telling her stories. I can’t even begin to say what a VASTLY different experience this was from her last one (done at a different hospital). Julie was absolutely brilliant at her job – quick and efficient doing the echo but so kind, warm, and engaging with my daughter. It helped her today, in that it wasn’t another difficult experience to add to her pile, but it gave her some confidence which will help her moving forward. Julie, thank you for doing what you do with such kindness and care!”
What’s your job title and how long have you worked at Akron Children’s?
I’m a pediatric cardiac sonographer, which means I do ultrasounds of the heart. I’ve been with Akron Children’s for five years.
Reflecting on this patient experience and the feedback you received, how do you feel about it?
The feedback from this family was very sweet. I felt really good knowing that I made an impact. My co-workers asked me if I knew which family submitted that, and honestly, I don’t, because I try to treat everybody that way. I always try to make a difference.
If you notice a child having anxiety with a procedure, how do you put them at ease?
I listen to the parents, and what they say to the child and work from that. Depending on the age, I’ll put on a movie for them. We also get things from the Volunteer department to give out. I’ll ask, do they like prizes? Do they like snacks? I even sing songs with kids. I’m a mom, and I feel like I try to do whatever I can to reverse their anxiety.
What does patient- and family-centered care mean to you, and how do you strive to deliver that type of care in your work?
It’s really whatever you can do to give your patient and their family a positive visit. Regardless of whether it’s a scheduled appointment in the clinic or the middle of the night, there are so many things I try to do to make things easier for them. There are patients and families who I see frequently and have become really close to. There are times when I’m traveling and one of my favorite patients is coming in, so I’ll trade a shift with someone to be here for them.
What do you enjoy most about your work at Akron Children’s?
It’s 100% the patients and families. Working with kids – that’s the best part of our job. If you just hear these little toddlers laugh, it’s priceless. If you treat your patients and your families like you would treat your own, you’re always going to have a positive experience.