If you ask Cody McCullough, CNP, he’s a kid walking the halls of Akron Children’s in big-kid shoes. He’s a Harry Potter-obsessed, Sesame Street-loving, magic of Christmas-fanatic kid-at-heart. He says it’s this perspective that better helps him connect with children and families as Akron Children’s newest certified nurse practitioner in emergency medicine.
So, it’s no surprise Cody brings that fun-loving, approachable side to diagnosing and treating all types of emergencies in children and teens. Whether it’s a head injury, COVID-19, broken bone, severe asthma attack or any other acute-care scenario, his goal is to not only treat the problem, ease pain and anxiety, but also educate patients and families in hopes of preventing future visits.
The rush of adrenalin that Cody gets with the uncertainty of emergency medicine is what attracted him most to the field. But now serving in this role, he’s found he gets the biggest thrill from easing families’ fear during one of their most difficult times, while healing kids to quickly get them back to play—a no-brainer for this kid-at-heart.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
I knew I always wanted to work with children in the hospital. I started here in 2010 as a volunteer. I felt Akron Children’s offered a lot of what I wanted in a career, and I have been lucky to be part of the Mahoning Valley growth. Born and raised in Youngstown, it has and always will be home, so being a part of anything helping the valley and in turn serving the valley is something I am glad to be continuing.
And, let’s face it, what job do you get to come to work wearing practically pajamas and be yourself? I am a kid-at-heart, so working with children has always been a no-brainer.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish.
My role at Akron children’s is a certified nurse practitioner in emergency medicine. I hope to not only treat the problem, but also educate patients and families in hopes of avoiding future visits.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
Emergency medicine has always been somewhere I saw myself. The uncertainty associated with it and never knowing what is coming through the door brings that rush of adrenalin. I also chose it because I hoped to be able to ease fears and help heal a child during a time when families are the most scared. I spent some time working in adult emergency medicine, and it reaffirmed my love for not only the field, but most importantly, the pediatric side of it.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
Working in the hospital in various roles, I always knew I wanted more. My career path changed a few times during the course of my studies, but one thing remained constant: wanting to be a part of the diagnostic side of medicine. Advancing my career to a nurse practitioner and staying in the field I love is an added benefit.
How does your personality fit your role?
I like to think of myself as calm, easily approachable and fun. It takes a lot for me to get worked up and I always try to have fun. I like to think I’m easy to talk to and get along with, as well. Most of all, I’m a big kid-at-heart, so being able to come to work and be myself makes everything easier. A mild addiction to coffee and a hint of ADHD also tends to match the emergency room very well.
What are you most looking forward to?
I’m looking forward to working with the same team, but in a different role and learning all of the facets of it. I feel we are only as strong as those we surround ourselves with, and I have been blessed working with such a strong team during my time at Akron Children’s. As Harry Potter’s Albus Dumbledore said, “We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” Culture plays a huge role in health care, and the Mahoning Valley ED’s culture has been so strong and taught me so much. I hope to learn more from other areas of the hospital, as well as from the Akron ED.
What does success mean to you?
Success, by definition, is reaching an achievement. To me, this is the tip of the iceberg. Success to me is an inherent word standing for the next step. I always push myself in everything I do to reach higher objectives, and I encourage those around me to do the same. I don’t really like complacency, and I always look to where I personally can improve. I try not to compare myself to others. Success is setting your own standards. Success is only measured by yourself. It’s as Harry Potter’s Remus Lupin said, “It is the quality of one’s convictions that determines success, not the number of followers.”
What are your favorite podcasts, books, movies or TV shows?
Top of the list is definitely Harry Potter. I’d call it an obsession, if I’m honest. I grew up reading the books, watching the movies, quoting it all the time, and it was even my son’s nursery theme. I’ve listened to the audiobooks at least once a year. It’s something that has always resonated with me and brings back a lot of good memories from my childhood.
What’s your favorite holiday?
To put it simply, I’m ecstatic about the entire tradition and magic surrounding Christmas. My entire house gets decorated inside and out, and I fight to be the first in the neighborhood. I love all the traditions during the Christmas season: baking cookies, seeing lights, decorating and now with kids creating the magic for them. When I ran a restaurant, I dressed up as Buddy the Elf out of pure enjoyment of seeing the kids’ faces.
Working at the hospital and doing my best to make the kids we treat happy during the holidays is something I truly enjoy.
What events in your life made you who you are today?
My childhood played a major role in who I am today. Because I was adopted, my perspective on how things are might be a little different than others. The support from my family through my struggles—and achievements—being a first-generation college student really personified who I am today.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up?
I make coffee, unless one of my kids decides to wake up first. Anyone who knows me can easily agree I drink a ton of coffee. It was definitely a proud dad moment when my son figured out how to start the Keurig. After coffee, our routine is to check the dog breed of the day on Alexa (my daughter’s current obsession) and then watch some good old-fashioned Sesame Street.