• Children's of Alabama





Dear Friends and Supporters,


What an amazing year it has been at Children’s of Alabama!  This report celebrates the outstanding accomplishments of our nurses who have made a significant impact on not only the lives of our patients, but also on how we continuously improve the care we deliver.  From our shared governance councils driving the implementation of bedside shift report to our nursing staff presenting at conferences throughout the country and world, the work of promoting highly reliable and safe care to our patients never stops.


I am always thrilled to see so many of our nurses taking advantage of our programs to promote certification in pediatric specialties. Children’s has made a commitment to training and retraining the most knowledgeable and skilled nursing staff in the country through 2,000-plus hours of continuing education in 2018, along with professional development events throughout the year.


As we look toward 2019, we count our blessings for our amazing nursing staff who show up through it all to continue raising the bar for pediatric excellence within the state of Alabama. I am honored to work alongside each and every one of our 2,100-plus nurses. Thank you for what you do every day!




Deb Wesley, MSN, RN

Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer







Children’s nurses are partners in the multidisciplinary, family-centered care teams that treat our patients. We offer nurses the opportunity to specialize in several areas, including:





Children’s is a member of the Children’s Hospitals’ Solutions for Patient Safety National Children’s Network (SPS), the most herculean effort to date by children’s hospitals to create a universally safe and healing environment for all children who are in our care. Children’s is one of 135-plus children’s hospitals that has stepped forward and committed to clear, shared network goals of harm reduction by December 31, 2021:


80% of SPS hospitals will achieve performance targets in CLABSI, Pressure Injuries and Unplanned Extubations


Reduce Network DART by 25%


Reduce Network SSER by 75%


To achieve these goals, CEOs, hospital boards of trustees and clinical leaders are aligning their organizational goals with the network harm reduction goals in a way that is transforming the safety and quality of care delivered in children’s hospitals.


Safe Patient Handling
Healthcare workers experience more injuries than those in mining, construction and manufacturing, prompting Children’s participation in a Pioneer Cohort through SPS aimed at developing ways to keep our employees and staff safe every day. A multidisciplinary team began work in November 2017 to eliminate overexertion injuries (strains, sprains, tears, etc.) caused by patient handling. The team’s first Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle began in January 2018, when the “Safety Matters” safe patient handling (SPH) pilot launched on the 10 Harbert acute care unit. The 10 Harbert staff is now educated in proper SPH techniques and testing equipment to assist in safely caring for patients.




All patients admitted to Children’s with diabetes diagnoses – new onset or chronic – receive education. To better streamline new onset diabetes education for inpatients, Children’s in 2018 redesigned its diabetes education workflow, shifting responsibility from outpatient diabetes educators to an inpatient diabetes staff nurse. Our inpatient diabetes staff nurse performs all education and coordinates discharge plans. This new workflow has decreased the average number of hours required to adequately teach each patient from 3.27 hours to 2.72 hours per patient – a 17% decrease. Diabetes education availability has also expanded from six days per week to seven days per week.




At Children’s, we realize when a child is sick, the whole family is affected. We have found the best way to care for children is when family is part of the dialogue among healthcare team. Active participation during rounds is one way families can partner with their child’s healthcare team members. We call this Family-Centered Care. It is essential to who we are and what we do at Children’s.


Family-Centered Care consists of a healthcare team, including family, doctors and nurses, and sometimes a discharge coordinator, pharmacist and social worker.


Rounds can take place at the bedside or just outside the room. The following occurs during rounds: physical exam, nurse’s observations presented, changes in child’s medical condition discussed, labs/test results discussed, planning for the day and goals.




Children’s completed construction on a two-room addition to its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) in 2018. The addition raised the PICU’s room count from 22 to 24 beds. The PICU cares for patients requiring high-level monitoring, intense observation, special procedures and numerous interventions. “This is a much-needed addition for the children we treat in our PICU,” said Barbara Lovvorn, Children’s Nursing Division Director for Critical Care. “This past winter was a difficult time for us due to the patient volume we served, so having two more available rooms may literally be a lifesaver.” In addition, Children’s Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit expanded to a capacity of 18 operational beds. When the need presents itself and staffing allows, the unit can expand to 19 beds for an abbreviated period of time.




Children’s in 2018 was re-designated as a Level 1 Trauma Center for the State of Alabama by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Children’s has held this designation continually since 2013. Under the leadership of Dr. Robert Russell, Trauma Coordinator Adam Lansdon, RN, and Lillie Williams, Children’s Trauma Services team provides specialized care to patients who meet established criteria for Trauma Team activation or patients referred to Children’s for pediatric trauma care. Children’s treats about 400 trauma patients per year and is one of just four trauma centers in Alabama with the highest level of designation. Others are UAB, South Alabama and Huntsville Hospital. The Trauma Center also provides care ranging from initial assessment in the Trauma Room, the Emergency Department and/or one of the Critical Care Units through the Rehabilitation phase of inpatient care, and continuing through outpatient clinic follow-up. Children’s Trauma Center team is also actively engaged in multiple community outreach programs like #URKEYS2DRV, a safe teen driving initiative, and the Lutzie 43 Foundation.




Angela Doctor



In 1984, the state of Alabama mandated all public school students in fifth through ninth grades (ages 10 to 14) be screened for scoliosis for early detection and treatment. Children’s of Alabama offers a Scoliosis School Screening Program coordinated by Angela Doctor, BSN, RN, CPN. The program screens 35,000 to 40,000 students annually in 17 counties. With early detection and proper treatment, people with scoliosis can lead healthy, active lives.




Shivangi Argade, a nurse in Children’s Cardiac Care Unit, is one of two UAB nursing graduate students selected for the Alabama Schweitzer Fellowship 2018-19 class. For her project, Argade will address cardiac emergency preparedness in Alabama public schools by reinforcing CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) teaching to school staff. Partnering with Alabama LifeStart, a Children’s program that addresses the need for AEDs in schools, Argade said her project aim is to have 20 out of 25 schools in Birmingham and surrounding areas participate in Alabama LifeStart and become certified as Heart Safe Schools. “This will positively impact the lives of approximately 16,000 students and staff,” Argade said.




Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner Nancy Brown announced her retirement in 2018 after 38 years at Children’s. She was head nurse in the acute medical clinic before becoming the first nurse practitioner at Children’s in 1976, when the hospital’s sole hematology/oncology physician at the time asked her if she was interested in the role. Though Brown officially retired in September, she has signed on to volunteer at the hospital. “I have really enjoyed the constant stimulation of my job,” Brown said. “I am going to truly miss the intellectual stimulation, our precious patients and my wonderful, supportive colleagues.”




Jeannie Etheridge considers it an honor to have a career that allows her to touch the lives of so many. Etheridge serves as director for nursing on the pulmonary care unit at Children’s and was named among Birmingham magazine’s “Ones To Watch: Top Influencers Under 40” in 2018. Etheridge joined Children’s in 2001 and also serves as the manager consultant for the hospital’s practice council, assisting in evidence-based practice initiatives for nursing.




Patrick Hubbard is a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist who has worked at Children’s for six years. He credits his mother, an elementary school nurse, for sparking his interest in nursing. “She was actually pregnant with me while in graduate school, so I like to tell people I started nursing school in the womb.” As a senior CRNA, Hubbard works with Information Technology on Electronic Medical Records and serves as the CRNA Transplant Team Coordinator. “We were taught in anesthesia school that there is a science and an art to practicing anesthesia. Seeing that truly come to life every day while taking excellent care of my patients is what I love most about my job.”




Chris Jollife began her 17-year career at Children’s as a staff nurse in the Emergency Department. She joined the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) team in 2004 and today is coordinator of the SANE Program at Children’s. The SANE Program evaluates survivors of sexual abuse, collecting a detailed history, performing medical forensic examinations, and providing medications to prevent sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy and HIV, when indicated. “What’s most rewarding is providing care to patients and families during critically emotional times and calming many fears,” Joliffe said. “We overwhelmingly receive hugs and thanks as our patients are discharged. We make an awful day just a little bit better.”




Charolette Jones volunteers as a Certified Pediatric Nurse Champion for the Pediatric Nurses Certification Board (PNCB), which promotes optimal outcomes in global pediatric health by providing certification services that validate specialized knowledge and continuing competence in pediatric nursing. For promoting the advantages of certification to her colleagues at Children’s, Jones in 2018 was honored with the PNCB Certified Pediatric Nurse Certification Advocate Award at the Society of Pediatric Nurses conference in Denver, Colorado, and the accolades don’t end there. Jones was also the recipient of the 2018 Nursing Excellence Award for Acute Care, presented during Children’s annual observance of National Nurses Week.




Ann Slattery, DrPH, RN, RPh, DABAT, is a nurse, pharmacist and managing director of the Regional Poison Control Center (RPCC) at Children’s, which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2018. The RPCC is the 14th-oldest poison control center in the U.S. “I’m so proud and excited about this tremendous milestone,” said Slattery, whose Children’s career spans 36 years. The RPCC provides 24/7/365 toll-free, confidential access to lifesaving information. Fully accredited by the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC), the center is the only accredited statewide center by the Alabama Department of Public Health. The center serves patients of all ages ranging from 3 days to 100 years old. In 2017, the RPCC handled 39,465 calls and made 56,770 follow-up calls. For poison help, call the RPCC at 1-800-222-1222.




Jennifer Swindle, BSN, RN, a special care nurse at Children’s, meets all sorts of children while on the job. But it was one baby girl who stole her heart – and eventually took her last name. Stefani Swindle came to Children’s as a preemie with subglottic stenosis, a narrowing of the airway below the vocal cords. She spent the first year of her life at Children’s, and at the age of 6 months, was moved to the Special Care Unit. Stefani eventually got well enough to be discharged, but she didn’t have a family to take her home. “It broke my heart to think about her living in a nursing home. My husband, Jeff, and I weren’t foster parents at the time, but we decided to apply so that we could give Stefani a home,” Jennifer said. “It has been eye-opening to me to be on the other side and know what it’s like to have a critically ill child. It has made me a better nurse. I’m so thankful to have Children’s, especially after the experience we walked through with Stefani.”







There are many opportunities for Children’s nurses to obtain specialty certification. Nearly 29% of our nurses are certified. The hospital reimburses up to two specialty certifications per nurse. Most certifying bodies require that nurses pay for their exam and then submit their information for reimbursement. Children’s has been fortunate to obtain agreements with the certifying bodies (listed below), allowing nurses to complete their exams without staff payment. To assist with exam preparation, many specialty areas provide on-site review education for their nurses.

CPN Review Course: A total of 44 RNs attended a two-day Certified Pediatric Nurse (CPN) review course led by Beth Patton, MSN, RN-BC, PPCNP-BC, CEN, CPEN, FAEN, of MedEd Seminars. The enlightening and informative review of pediatrics resulted in a 65% success rate with several more individuals scheduled to take the exam.

No Pass, No Pay: Children’s participates in the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB) No Pass, No Pay program, which allows individuals to complete the certification exam twice without paying. The fee for the exam is billed directly to Children’s. In addition to the initial certification exam fee, PNCB allows nurses to renew their certifications without paying. Renewal fees are also billed to Children’s.

ONCC FreeTake: Children’s has partnered with the Oncology Nurses Credentialing Center (ONCC) to provide FreeTake, a program designed to help institutions support certification by reducing two of the common barriers that deter nurses from testing – fear of failure and payment of a test fee. Since May 2018, six individuals have participated in the program.

CPEN and CCRN Vouchers: Pre-paid vouchers for registering and completing the Certified Pediatric Emergency Nurse and Critical Care Registered Nurse certification exams were purchased for use by staff. Thirteen nurses in Children’s Emergency Department have participated, and more than two-thirds of CCRN vouchers have been redeemed.

RNC-NIC: Children’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) provides registered nurses the opportunity to participate in a no pass, no pay program and on-site review class. Nurses also have the opportunity to complete the Neonatal Intensive Care Nursing exam on-site. Twenty NICU nurses have earned RNC-NIC certifications, with 51% of eligible NICU nurses being RNC-NIC certified.




Nursing Shared Governance allows nurses to participate in decisions affecting their practice and work life. At Children’s, nurses serve on hospital-wide councils – Education Forum, Evidence-Based Practice, Management, Practice and Quality, as well as unit-based councils. Members include staff from inpatient and outpatient care, surgical services, behavioral health and the Emergency Department who represent the 24/7 work schedule. An orientation and planning meeting for newly elected members was held in January.

Education Forum: Chaired by Lisa Maloney, MSN, RN, and Brenda Denson, Pharm D, the Education Forum, formerly known as the Education Council, was reorganized in 2018. Members include educators from nursing and non-nursing departments. The Forum’s objectives are to provide a climate of collaboration among all Children’s educators and to ensure appropriate use of resources and avoid duplication of staff education services. Forum goals include: 1) Ensure all departments/staff are prepared for surveys by regulatory agencies related to competency and education standards 2) Plan/disseminate hospital-wide educational offerings to staff 3) Collaborate in identifying potential learning needs, planning, implementation and evaluation of system-wide educational activities 4) Serve as role models for education, brainstorm and problem solve and active participation in strategic planning.

Evidence-Based Practice Council: Chaired by Edward Campbell, EdD, RN, Advanced Nurse Educator, the newly reorganized Evidence-Based Practice Council provides education to members related to literature reviews, and develops evidence-based projects and a standard research methodology. The council identified areas for research to pursue in 2019 and has reviewed and presented recommendations on best practice for verification of nasogastric tube placement. The council also identified three PICO questions for further study representing Critical Care, Acute Care and Surgical Services. PICO is a mnemonic that helps one remember the key components of a well-focused question. The question needs to identify the key problem of the patient, what treatment is being considered for the patient, what alternative treatment is being considered (if any) and what is the outcome to avoid or promote.

Management Council: Chaired by Natalie Allumns, MSN, RN, Nursing Support Services, the Management Council was active in 2018, planning and implementing activities to celebrate nurses and support staff. In addition, the council revised the Nursing Dress Code, presented recommendations for selected policies, worked to increase the number of certified nurses and reviewed the Emergency Equipment Check documentation form.

Practice Council: Chaired by Katelyn Corley, RN, Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit, the Practice Council reviewed and approved 35 policies in 2018. The council also presented recommendations based on evidence-based practices, including the suggestion that all tubing for IVs be filtered unless contraindicated. In addition, the council recommended revisions to the Electronic Medication Administration Record and worked on the standardization of medication labels throughout the organizations. The council implemented a standardized bedside shift report (BSR) that included education, nurse champions, an educational video, managerial involvement and updates, good catches from BSR, data collections for compliance purposes and ongoing documentation for BSR completion.

Quality Council: Chaired by Andrea Stripling, MSN, RN, Specialty Care Services, the Quality Council in 2018 worked to improve independent double checks by developing a teaching video and increasing the numbers of interactions performed.




Children’s nurses maintain active memberships with professional organizations, including the following:







Staci Abernathy, MSN, CPNP-AC – “Compassion Fatigue: Protecting Yourself and Others,” NAPNAP Conference (Oral)


Alexandra Blumenthal, CRNP – “Advancements in Diabetes Care,” American Association of Pediatrics and NAPNAP Joint Meeting (Oral)


Laura Debiasi, DNP, CRNP – “Cultural Competence Training for Nurse Practitioners: An Intervention to Increase Culturally Competent Care,” Making Lifelong Connections Annual Meeting (Poster)


Angela Hamby, MPH, BSN, RN – “Caring for a Multi-Cultural Population: Providing the Best Care Possible with Available Resources,” Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy Conference (Oral)


Amy Hobbs, BSN, RN and Marjorie McCaskey, DNP, RN-BC – “Bringing High Reliability to the Bedside: Building a Culture of Safety,” American Nurse Association Quality and Innovation Conference (Oral)


LeAnn Logan, BSN, CRNA; Jill Jones Smith, MSN, RN-NIC; Rebecca McCullough, BSN, RN-NIC; and Jana Whisenhunt, MSN, CRNP – “Maintaining Euthermia in Intra-operative and Post-operative Patients,” Children’s Hospital Neonatal Consortium Annual Meeting (Poster) *One of four winners out of 80 posters


Ava Mitchell, MSN, CRNP – “Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus in Adolescents: Use of GLP-1,” Pediatric Nursing Conference (Oral)


Theresa Flint Rodgers, DNP, CRNP – “Inpatient Challenges: Year of Transition Brings Change in Pulmonary Status,” North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference (Oral)


Rebecca Sims, BSN, RN, CPN – “The Dialysis ER Card,” Quality and Safety in Nursing International Forum (Poster)


Kara Short, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-PC – “Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CCRT) and Decarboxylation via a Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD) in an Infant,” 23rd International Conference in Advances in Critical Care Nephrology (Oral)


Christy Taylor, RN - Pediatric Hypertension and Current Treatments, American Nephrology Nurses Association (Oral)




Brittany Alexander, MSN, RN; Becky Earman, RN, CDE; and Emily Hall, MSN, RN, CDE – “Behavioral Health Assessment of Patients Newly Diagnosed with Diabetes: A Quality Improvement Initiative,” Endocrinology, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Emily Andrews, BSN, RN; Yvonne Denson-Agee, BSN, RN; Trent Fondren, RN; Gina Horton; Sara Lyles, BSN, RN; Latreice Means, BSN, RN, CPN; Evelyn Peoples; Thomas Robbins, RN; Sue Rowe, BSN, RN, CPN; Ashley Smith, BSN, RN; Louann Standifer, BSN, RN; Claire Tolbert, BSN, RN; Rachel Taylor, BSN; RN; and Derrick Wingard – “That Itch You Can’t Scratch: Standardizing the Assessment of Post-Burn Pruritus,” Burn Unit, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Kimberly L. Bell, MSN, CRNP and Ashley Hawkins, BSN, RN – “Documentation of Intake and Output,” Pulmonary, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Allison Black, MD; Rebecca McCullough, BSN, RNC-NIC; Jill Jones-Smith, MSN, RNC-NIC; Monica Collins, MeD, BSN, RN; Tamela Pope, BSN, RNC-NIC; Brittany Yeager, BSN, RNC-NIC; Jennifer P. Eldredge, MD; David Neal, MNA, CRNA; and LeeAnn Logan, BSN, CRNA – “Maintaining Euthermia in Post-Op Patients in the NICU Use of a Standardized Hand-Off Tool,” NICU, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Elizabeth Blackburn, BSN, RN, CNOR; Christine Evans, RN; and Lila Dian Lee, MSN, RN, CPN, CNOR – “Is It Clean In The End? High Level Disinfection of Gastroenterology Endoscopes in the OR,” Operating Room/Surgical Services, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Victoria R. Bolus, MSN, RN; Lisa Maloney, MSN, RN; Jennifer Childress, MSN, RN, CPEN; Amber King, BSN, RN, CPEN; and Louis Boohaker, MPH – Educational Reinforcement and the Use of Blood Culture Collection Kits: Reducing Blood Culture Contamination Rates in a Pediatric Emergency Department, Emergency Department, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Al Bonds, RN; Cindy Brown, BSN, RN; Sarah Coufal, RN; Paula Creel, BSN, RN; Will Campbell, Adam Hughes, RN; Latreice Means, BSN, RN; and Louann Standifer, BSN, RN – “HIPAA-HIPAA HOORAY,” 9 Quarterback Clinical Practice Council, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Paige Turner Cain, MS-HQS, MSN, RN, CPN, CPHQ, LSSGB – “Educational Tool to Improve Solid Organ Transplant Patient’s Understanding of Outcome Survival Date,” Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Jennifer Childress, MSN, RN, CPEN; Lisa Maloney, MSN, RN; and Kathy Monroe, MD – “Managing Vomiting: An Educational Video for Caregivers of Pediatric Emergency Department Patients,” Emergency Department, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Jane M. Condrey, CRNP – “Food for Thought The LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut Allergy) Study: New Recommendations for Infants: A Review of the Randomized Trial of Peanut Consumption in Infants at Risk for Peanut Allergy” Allergy/Immunology, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Jane M. Condrey, CRNP – “SCID Newborn Screening: History and Treatment,” Annual Alabama Chapter-American Association of Pediatrics Conference-National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners Track (Oral)


Michelle Coulter, MSN, CRNP; Theresa Rogers, DNP, CRNP; and Kristen Waddell, MSN, CRNP-AC, CRNP, CCRN – “Empowering Nurse Practitioners: Advanced Practice Provider Council Formation and Continuing Efforts to Improve Patient Care and Nurse Practitioner Practice,” Advanced Practice Council, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Yvonne Denson-Agee, BSN, RN; Latreice C. Means, BSN, RN; and Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN – “Teach-Back: Improving Nurse Effectiveness,” Clinical Scholars, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Morgan E. Dew, BSN, RN; Betsy D. Hopson, MSHA; Anastasia A. Arynchyna, MPH; Anna Graham, BS; Joseph Biggio, MD; and Amie McLain, MD – “Pregnancies in Women With Spina Bifida,” Neurosurgery, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Lisa Easterwood, RN; Callie George, BSN, RN; Angela Jones, BSN, RN; Kate Lee, BSN, RN; Angel Liveoak, BSN, RN, CPEN; and Tiffany Thompson, BSN, RN, CPN – “Peds Pathway in the Emergency Department,” Emergency Department, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Sharon Elliot, BSN, RN, CPN; Kelly Pinion, MSN, RN, CPN; and Amy Theos, MD – “Dermatology Clinic at Children’s South: Can No-Show Rates Be Reduced?,” Dermatology, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Caitlin Houston, MSN, RN, CPN; Jeannie Etheridge, MSN, RN; and and Erica Hill, RRT – “10 Quarterback Pulmonary Care Unit Nurse Acuity Communication and Satisfaction,” Pulmonary, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Sula Gillespie, MSN, CRNP; and Jennifer Glenn CRNP – “Seizures Lecture,” Jefferson County Schools Nurse Workshop (Oral)


Robin Greer, MSN, CRNP; GayAnne Crabbe, BSN, RN, CPN; and Paige Turner Cain, MS-HQS, MSN, RN, CPN, CPHHQ – “Improved Flu Vaccination Rate in Liver Transplant Recipients with Use of Wellness Education Program,” Solid Organ Transplant/Clinic 7, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Suzanne Hammett, CRNP; Amy Jenkins, CRNP; and Nicholas CaJacob, MD – “PPI Responsive Esophageal Eosinophilia. The CHS Experience,” Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Beverly Hanes, MSN, RN, CPN; Judith Thomason, AAS; and Robin Prater, BSN, RN, CPN – “COA Staff: Bringing Wellness Education to Rescued Victims of Human Trafficking, Children’s South, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Alyse Hicks, BSN, RN; Tiffany Barnett, BSN, RN, CPN; and Tracie Damsgard, RN, CPN – “To Hep-Lock or Not to Hep-Lock? Is It Really Necessary for Central Line Devices?” Specialty Care Services/Infusion Clinic, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Charolette Jones, BSN, RN, CPN; and Claire Leavitt, SN (Auburn University) – “Safe Handling and Mobility in the Pediatric Population,” 10 Harbert, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Claire Keith, MD; Hui-Chien Kuo, MPH; Taylor Knight, MSN, CRNP-PC; Jeanine Maclin, MD, MPH; and Traci Jester, MD – “Use of Quality Improvement Process to Increase Influenza Vaccination in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease Patients,” Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Deborah Laney, MSN, CRNP; Martha W. McBride, MSN, CRNP; Angela Glenn, BSN, RN, EPRS; and Karen Kirby, BSN, RN, ECMO Specialist – “Effective Practice for Maintaining ECMO Cannula Patency Using Interval Heparin Lock with Calculated Total Flush Volumes,” ECMO, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Jennifer Richards Lee, BSN, RN and Mary Parker Pradat, BSN, RN – “Improving the Handling and Administration of Expressed Breast Milk on CCU,” 8 Harbert/Critical Care Unit, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Angel Liveoak, BSN, RN, CPEN and Judy Fuller, RN, SANE – “Improving Rapid Fluid Resuscitation in the Emergency Department,” Emergency Department, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Judy Merrell, CRNP and Carrie Slavich, CRNP – “Role of the Pediatric Nurse Practitioner with Inpatient Surgery Admissions,” APASS, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Amanda Morris, BSN, RN and Virginia Holcomb, BSN, RN – “Improving Restraint Documentation,” Special Care Unit, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Apryl Norris, BSN, RN and Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN – “Educating Patients and Nurses: A Journey in Learning About Sickle Cell Disease,” Hematology/Oncology/Bone Marrow Transplant, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Amanda O’Hara, BSN, RN; Suzanne White, BSN, RN, CPN; Sahar Shaykh, MD; Wendy Shirley, BSN, RNC-NIC; Jessica Stephenson, BSN, RN; and Andrea Darnell, BSN, RN – “Securing Vascular Access in Infants and Young Children on Hemodialysis,” Dialysis, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Tara Parr, BSN, RN and Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN – “Post-Operative Discharge Teaching for Families: Improving Home Care Education,” One-Day Surgery, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Janeen Pierson, RN; Lauren Shivers, BSN, RN, CPC; Lisa Cochran, RN; Martha Walker, RN, CPC; Sally Helmers, BSN, RN, CPC; Kelly Glass, RN, CPN; Vicki Early, BSN, MA, RN, LPC-S, CPC; and Tracy Tolbert, RN, CPN – “An Unfamiliar Facet of Nursing Practice,” Clinical Documentation Excellence, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Kelly Pinion, MSN, RN, CPN and Walter Shaw, MSN, RN, CCRN, NEA-BC – “Children’s Assessment Team at South: 2017 Update,” Children’s South/Specialty Care Services, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Jennifer Piziak, BSN, RN, CPN – “Family Centered Care Using RAINBOW Rounds,” Dearth Tower, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Sarah Powell, BSN, RN and Lisa Maloney, MSN, RN – “ED Psych Nurse Leader Program,” Emergency Department, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Annelle B. Reed, MSN, CRNP; Surabhi Vinod, BS; Jamelle Maxwell, MSN, RN, CPN; Esrae Eloseily, MD, MRCPCH; Matthew Stoll, MD, PhD, MSCS; and Randy Cron, MD, PhD – “Pediatric Rheumatology Infusion Center: Report on Therapeutic Protocols and Infusion Reactions Over 4 Years,” Rheumatology, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Theresa Flint Rodgers, DNP, CRNP; Valerie Tarn, MS, RD; and Emily Pietrantone, MSN, APRN, CPNO-AC/PC – “Use of a Creative Teaching Tool to Increase Knowledge of Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes,” Pulmonary, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Chrystal Rutledge, MD; Vicki Sain Shinick, BSN, RN, CCRN; Kristen Waddell, MSN, CPNP-AC, CRNP, CCRN; Lynn Zinkan, MPH, BSN, RN; Carrie Underwood, BSN, CPN; and Kandi Wise, BSN, RN – “Keep Educating Yourself: A PICU Nurse Simulation Program,” PICU, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Kara Short, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-PC; Darryl Ingram, BSN, RN, CDN; Carlisle O’Meara, CCP, FFP; Joseph Timpa, CCP, FPP; Santiago Borasino, MD; David Askenazi, MD; and Kara Lasley, MD – “Continuous Renal Replacement (CRRT) and Decarboxylation via a Right Ventricular Assist Device (RVAD) in an Infant,” Dialysis, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Rebecca Sims, BSN, RN, CPN – “The Dialysis ER Card,” Dialysis, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


April Skinner, BSN, RN; Jennifer France, BSN, RN; and Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN – “Can We Expect Understanding of Illness Without Understanding of Health?,” NICU, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Kandi Smith, RN; Jocelyn York, BA; Beth Benton, BSN, RN, CPON; Cindi Seidel, BSN, RN, CPHON; and Wendy Lanier, PhD, CRNP – “Providing Education for Parents of Children Newly Diagnosed with Cancer,” Hematology/Oncology/8 Quarterback and Clinic 8, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Paige Turner – “Educational Tool to Improve Solid Organ Transplant Patient’s Understanding of Outcome Survival Data,” Solid Organ Transplant/Liver Transplant, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Laura Ward, MS, RD, LD, IBCLC; Jill Jones-Smith, MSN, RN-NIC; and Rebecca McCullough, BSN, RN-NIC – “Breast Milk Is Medicine: Increasing the Breast Milk Initiation and Discharge Rates in the NICU,” NICU, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)


Samantha Weaver, MSN, PNP-AC and Leon Dure, MD – “Quality Measures in Pediatric Headache Management Utilizing a Nurse Practitioner Model of Care,” Neurology, Children’s of Alabama (Poster)




Academic Journal Publications


Laura B. Debiasi DNP, CRNP; Lynn Stover Nichols; and Sigrid Ladores – “Older Adolescents with Cystic Fibrosis: Transitioning to Adult Care,” Journal of Pediatric Nursing 44(2), 95-97.


Taylor Knight, MSN, CRNP, et al – “Conceptual Model of Lean Body Mass in Pediatric Inflammatory Bowel Disease,” Journal of Gastroenterology and Nutrition


Rebecca Sims, BSN, RN, CPN – “Decreasing Adverse Events in Pediatric Patients with ESRD (End Stage Renal Disease) using an ER Dialysis Card,” Journal of Healthcare Quality, November-December 2018.


Surabhi S. Vinod; Annelle B. Reed, MSN, CRNP; Jamelle Maxwell, MSN, RN, CPN; Randy Q. Cron; and Matthew L. Stoll – “Pediatric Rheumatology Infusion Center: Report on Therapeutic Protocols and Infusions Given Over Four Years with Focus on Adverse Events Over One Year,” Pediatric Rheumatology, 2018, 16:16


Online Publications


Laurel Iverson Hitchock; Dawn Taylor Peterson; Laura Debiasi, DNP, CRNP; Sallie Shipman, Allyson Varley and Marjorie Lee White – “Learning About Poverty Through Simulation: A Pilot Evaluation,” 517-531


Textbook Publications


Jimmi Amick, BSN, RN and Nadine Bradley, BSN, RN, CPN – “Hydrocephalus,” Handbook of Neurosurgery, Neurology, and Spinal Medicine for Nurses and Advanced Practice Health Professionals, 25-252


Annelle B. Reed, MSN, CRNP – “Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis,” Core Curriculum for Rheumatology Nursing, 2nd Edition, Rheumatology Nurses Society, 2018


Annelle B. Reed, MSN, CRNP – “Juvenile Sjorgren Disease,” Core Curriculum for Rheumatology Nursing, 2nd Edition, Rheumatology Nurses Society, 2018


Kara Short, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-PC – “Renal Replacement Therapy for Neonates,” Atlas of Procedures in Neonatology




DAISY Award: The DAISY Foundation was established in 2000 by the Barnes family in memory of J. Patrick Barnes, who died from complications of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) at the age of 33. DAISY is an acronym for Diseases Attacking the Immune System. Touched by the remarkable care, clinical skills and compassion demonstrated by nurses during Patrick's illness, the Barnes family made it their mission to recognize exceptional nurses around the world.


The DAISY Award is presented monthly, and its winner is recognized at a surprise ceremony. The winner receives a framed certificate, a DAISY Award signature lapel pin and a hand-carved stone sculpture titled A Healer's Touch.  The unit or department of the winner also receives Cinnabon cinnamon rolls—a favorite of Patrick's during his illness—with the sentiment that the heavenly aroma will remind them how special they are and how important their work is.


Nurses who receive The DAISY Award personify Children's remarkable patient experience. These individuals consistently demonstrate excellence by:


Serving as a role model for the nursing profession


Demonstrating a caring attitude in all situations


Communicating with compassion, using words the patient and family understand


Making a significant difference in the life of a patient


The 2018 DAISY Award recipients are: Martha Dean, RN, Candice Ray, RN, Dawn Fillmore, BSN, RN, Mary B. Garrett, BSN, RN, Margaret Blessings, Abby Carter, BSN, RN, Amanda Moore, RN, CPN, Lisa Tyson, BSN, RN, Samantha Fialko, RN, Kristen Knarr, RN, Kaitlin Krantz, RN and Brianna Little, RN.


Nursing Excellence: Nursing Excellence Award recipients demonstrate exceptional qualities, among them compassion, knowledge, skill and teamwork. The awards allow Children’s to recognize nurses who have a significant impact on their peers, patients and families. The 2018 honorees are:


Acute Care Excellence – Charolette Jones, BSN, RN, CPN


Advanced Practice Excellence – Brandi Allredge, MSN, CRNP


Charge Nurse Excellence – Danielle Kent, BSN, RN


Critical Care Excellence – Emily “Annie” Criswell, BSN,RN


Education Excellence – Vicki Shinick, BSN, RN, CCRN


Excellence in Mentorship – Ashley Hawkins, BSN, RN


Leadership Excellence – Jacob Harper, MSN,RN


Pediatric Practices Excellence – Rachel Weigent,BSN.RN


Rising Star – Ginnie Holcomb,BSN, RN


Specialty Care Services Excellence – Patricia Clark, RN


Surgical Services Excellence – Amber Doss, BSN, RN




Alexa Blumenthal, MSN,CRNP was elected Legislative Chair for the State of Alabama for the National Association of Nurse Practitioners and was awarded the Trailblazer award for Young Philanthropists for Birmingham.


Edward Campbell, EdD, RN Advanced Unit Educator-Behavioral Health Ireland Center, received his doctorate.


Deborah Chadwick, MSN, RN, CDE was presented Southeastern Diabetes’ Doc E Award in recognition of 15 years of service to children with Type 1 Diabetes at Camp Seale Harris.


Laura Debiasi, DNP, MPH, CRNP, CNE was named President Elect of the Alabama League for Nursing.


Laura Hauguel, BSN, RN, CPN, CCM on behalf of the Vizient Contracting Councils, was selected to be on the Pediatric Coordinating Council for a three-year term.


Andrew Loehr, DNP, RN, CPNP Vice President of Nursing Operations, received his DNP from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


Ava Mitchell, MSN, CRNP added an after-hours nurse practitioner-led diabetes clinic to the Park Place evening clinic roster.


Ashley Moellinger, MSN, CPNP-AC Lead Cardiovascular Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, was selected to serve on the Board of Directors of the Pediatric Cardiac Intensive Care Society.


Kelly Pinion, MSN, RN, CPN Children’s South Clinic Supervisor, and co-authors received the Association of Child Life Professionals’ Professional Research Recognition Award for work on “Computer Table Distraction Reduces Pain and Anxiety in Pediatric Burn Patients Undergoing Hydrotherapy: A Randomized Trial.”


Leslie Pitts, MSN, CPNP-AC, CDE with Dr. Gail Mick, participated in the 2018 Fall Alabama Newborn Screening Advisory Committee Meeting.


Annelle B. Reed, MSN, CRNP serves on the ACR Pediatric Symposium Planning Committee and was an abstract reviewer at the American College of Rheumatology’s annual scientific meeting.







Children’s is an approved provider of continuing education by the Alabama Board of Nursing. In 2018, nursing continuing education contact hours were assigned to 360 programs, classes and activities. More than 2,200 nursing contact hours and 65 pharmacy nursing contact hours were provided to more than 8,900 RNs, LPNs and non-RNs. More than 23,000 contact hours were provided to RNs and LPNs statewide through Children’s.




Children’s Nursing Professional Development Department offers daylong conferences to help staff stay current in their skill set. Conference themes are determined based on the needs of staff, changes in patient population and trends in healthcare. The department is active in maintaining skill sets by providing rolling cart skills stations, monthly 30-minute education programs and classes to maintain and enhance basic life support skills. Classes include basic life support, pediatric advanced life support and neonatal resuscitation. Unit-based educators are also active in ongoing continuing education programs related to patients on their respective units. The following professional development events were held in 2018:


Vicki Hess, RN, MS, led a half-day workshop titled “Elevating Employee Engagement.” More than 80 Children’s division directors, department directors and managers were in attendance. Hess discussed what leadership could do in their roles to create employee shared ownership and commitment around engagement.


Nurse leaders and charge nurses completed a six-month online engagement training program called Engagement Excelerator, developed by Vicki Hess, RN, MS. The program walks nurse leaders through engagement techniques and tools that can be used in everyday situations to promote teamwork, communication and trust.


The Advisory Board’s Nursing Executive Center presented “Rebuild the Foundation for a Resilient Workforce” to 66 members of Children’s nursing leadership team. The presentation provided strategies to avoid burnout and best practices to support the foundation of the care environment.


Every summer, Children’s hosts School Nurse Workshops to prepare nurses caring for children and adolescents in the school setting. More than 500 nurses attended four separate conferences in 2018. The workshops are a partnership between the Alabama Board of Nursing the Alabama Department of Education and Children’s. All presentations were recorded and can be viewed online at myschoolnurse.net. Children’s also hosted two off-site workshops at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and Gadsden State Community College.


Children’s hosted the Healthcare Educators of Alabama (HEAL) annual meeting.


Donna Wright, MSN, RN, a professional development specialist, presented a two-day learning session discussing how healthcare organizations can create meaningful, effective programs that support staff development and competency assessment for all departments. Wright has created a competency model that has become the industry standard.


The Capstone School of Nursing completed its seventh intern program at Children’s. The eight-week program included eight students and a faculty supervisor. Students were assigned to a preceptor on medical/surgical units to gain pediatric clinical experience. A significant number of interns from the program are now nurses at Children’s.


Martha A.Q. Curley, RN, PhD, FAAN, the Ellen and Robert Kapito Professor in Nursing Service at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and nurse scientist at Boston Children’s Hospital, presented three topics to 135 Children’s nurses on nurse-implemented interventions in pediatric critical care.


The Jarman F. Lowder Clinical Scholars Program, led by Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN, UAB School of Nursing faculty liaison, presented project results to attendees from Children’s and UAB. The 2018 projects were: “Improving Bronchiolitis Patient/Family Education” by Haley Kirkpatrick, BSN, RN and Lauren Maynard, BSN, RN; “Standardizing the Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring Process” by Veronica Smith, MSN, RN and Christy Taylor, BSN, RN; “Using Multimedia to Standardize Family Orientation to a Pediatric Burn Center by Claire Tolbert, BSN, RN and Ashley Smith, BSN, RN; “Picturing Health to Better Comprehend Illness” by Amanda Killingsworth, BSN, RN and Lauren Kelly, BSN, RN and “Standardizing Education in a Pediatric ER for Medication Dosing for Fever” by Anna K. Johnson, BSN, RN and Madeline Power, BSN, RN.




Children’s Registered Nurse Exchange Program is an opportunity for an organized visit to another pediatric healthcare institution for experienced nurses to learn and share best practices. The program promotes nursing professional development advancements and enhances opportunities for improvement in professional practice. Special Care Unit Nurse Wanda Mosely visited Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) in 2018, and Megan Colline of CHOP visited Children’s.


“The RN Exchange experience at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia was amazing. Their hospital is so large, but their agenda focused on my individual needs and goals,” Mosely said. "It was great to work with other RNs and learn and share best practices. I came home with so many new ideas, and it definitely sparked a new interest in my profession. I would highly recommend this experience for anyone interested. It has been such a highlight in my career as a nurse.”




Clinical Opportunities: Fourteen Schools of Nursing partner with Children’s to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. These opportunities include traditional clinical support in patient care areas, preceptorships, and working alongside nurse practitioners and nursing leaders. In 2018, approximately 1,100 nursing students rotated through Children’s.


Nursing Career Fair: Children’s regularly hosts nursing career fairs for graduating nursing students and working registered nurses interested in careers at Children’s. Visitors talk with representatives from various nursing areas, helping them determine if Children’s is a good fit for their professional growth.


General Nursing Orientation: In 2018, 260 nurses were on-boarded to inpatient care areas via Children’s mandatory General Nursing Orientation. After completing general orientation, nurses go on to complete unit-specific orientation. New graduate nurses receive additional education throughout their first year through the Transition Into Practice program (TIP), as well as through unit-based educators and Children’s Pediatric Simulation Center.




Evidence-based practice is important to patient care. As one method to continue to provide current knowledge to the staff, nurses have the opportunity to attend professional conferences, including the following:





As trusted members of the community, Children’s nurses set an example for others and continually promote health outside their workplace. Our nurses provide health screenings at community events, offer pediatric advice and educate the public in the importance of child safety and well-being. For a more detailed look at Children’s community involvement, please visit our Annual Report’s Community section.






Children’s of Alabama Employs







  • Female – 94.04%
  • Male – 5.96%
  • 60.95% percent of new hires were new graduate RNs.

By Highest Credential



  • CRNA – 3.18%
  • CRNP – 7.54%
  • LPN – 1.47%
  • RN – 87.81%

By License Level



  • CRN (CRNP and CRNA) – 10.72%
  • LPN – 1.47%
  • RN – 87.81%

By Tenure



  • < 5 – 46.68%
  • > 5 – 17.84%
  • > 10 – 13.43%
  • > 15 – 9.11%
  • > 0 – 4.79%
  • > 25 – 4.27%
  • > 30 – 2.61%
  • > 35 – 0.76%
  • > 40 – 0.38%
  • > 45 – 0.14%

By Status



  • Full-time – 76.85%
  • Part-time – 14.80%
  • PRN or Flex – 8.35%