Preparing Your Experience

2013 Children's Hospital & Medical Center Snapshot

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Lights. Cameras. Action.

We achieved repeat recognition as one of Omaha’s Best Places to Work and treated more children than ever before. All in all, 2013 was a memorable year in which we celebrated many accomplishments with staff, patients and families.

390,100 Total
Patient Visits

7,900 Inpatient Admissions

8,600 Outpatient

First Pediatric
Heart Transplant

39,400 Emergency and
Urgent Care Visits

1,209 Critical Care

Employee Giving Campaign
Raises $252,000

$1.5 Million Donated
through Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

Best Places to Work in Omaha
3rd Consecutive Year

Gala Raises
Record $564,772

64,900 Outpatient
Specialty Clinic Visits

Fetal Care Center
Begins Delivery Service

Successful Launch of
Epic Enterprise across
the Continuum of Care

Best Children's Hospital Rankings

Children's Launches
Preventing Childhood Obesity
Community Grants

Kohl's Partnership Support Tops
$1.5 million


At Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, the remarkable achievements of our specialists and subspecialists, nurses, staff and colleagues in 2013 demonstrate the knowledge and experience to chart the proper course for pediatric health care – and that we are taking significant steps in the right direction.




The More You Know

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is putting the wise old saying about “an ounce of prevention” into action by sponsoring the HealthTeacher online wellness educational program for every school throughout a nine-county area of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.



The More You Know

Children’s Hospital & Medical Center is putting the wise old saying about “an ounce of prevention” into action by sponsoring the HealthTeacher online wellness educational program for every school throughout a nine-county area of eastern Nebraska and western Iowa.

“HealthTeacher is an easy-to-access and use health education tool that is proving its value nationwide,” says Martin W. Beerman, Vice President of Marketing and Community Relations at Children’s. “In 2012, we became the first organization to introduce it in our area. We presented it to 47 school districts and nearly 160,000 students as a gift to their good health.”

HealthTeacher is a series of online health education lesson plans for teachers and resources for parents. It includes a library of more than 300 Kindergarten-through 12th grade sessions organized around 10 health topics defined by National Health Education Standards: nutrition, personal and consumer health, physical activity, anatomy, alcohol and other drugs, tobacco, community and environmental health, family health and sexuality, mental and emotional health, and injury prevention. HealthTeacher addresses the top six health risk behaviors identified by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Active in nearly three dozen metropolitan markets, HealthTeacher serves more than 10,000 schools and six million students. It is used by nine of the 15 largest school districts in the U.S.

Children’s is offering the HealthTeacher program free of charge to the 413 public and private schools in Douglas, Washington, Dodge, Saunders, Sarpy and Cass counties in Nebraska, and Pottawattamie, Harrison and Mills counties in Iowa.

“Good and bad habits form very early in life,” Beerman says. “If we can plant the seed for good health habits at school and carry them over to the home, we hope to teach children how to live a healthier lifestyle through their adolescence and into adulthood.”

HealthTeacher was originally developed in 1999 by health educators and health professionals with the goal of providing a comprehensive online resource that would make it easy to teach good health habits to children. Today, HealthTeacher is used in all 50 states and 14 foreign countries, from urban and suburban schools to after-school programs and home schools. The lesson plans can stand alone as a school’s only health curriculum, or be used to support and enhance an existing curriculum.

The program seeks to:

  • Increase the health literacy of all teachers,
  • Enable teachers to overcome constraints that limit health education in the classroom,
  • Provide the knowledge, skills and tools that increase the health literacy of all students,
  • Engage parents and other key community stakeholders to reinforce healthy behaviors among children.

In addition to working with many educators directly, HealthTeacher collaborates with its healthcare partners to incorporate feedback and to develop timely, new topics. The program includes lessons that can be taken home and utilized by the entire family to help influence healthier habits.

HealthTeacher is committed to education, outreach and the promotion of health literacy. It is the founding partner of the Blue Apple Awards to recognize exceptional school health programs.

Children’s is supporting HealthTeacher in part because it advances wellness and prevention initiatives designed to improve health by impacting children at the sources of learning – the classroom and in the home.

“School districts are facing many challenges today such as limited health education resources and budget cuts,” Beerman says. “Keeping children healthy keeps them in school. An Alliance for a Healthier Generation survey indicates that nearly 95 percent of responding parents say health education is as important as math, science and English, and we at Children’s agree with them.

“Comprehensive health education prepares children for long, healthy lives. That is why Children’s is taking the lead by making HealthTeacher a resource for teachers, parents and children throughout the metropolitan Omaha area.”

Where No Day is Typical

Taped across the sliding glass door to Room 213, the colorful banner is surrounded by cutouts of smiling cartoon zoo animals. It reads, “Happy Birthday Cayden.” It marks not a particular year but the first six months of life for the tiny baby inside the room, nestled in a crib flanked by more than a half-dozen machines measuring every heartbeat and breath.



Where No Day is Typical

Taped across the sliding glass door to Room 213, the colorful banner is surrounded by cutouts of smiling cartoon zoo animals. It reads, “Happy Birthday Cayden.” It marks not a particular year but the first six months of life for the tiny baby inside the room, nestled in a crib flanked by more than a half-dozen machines measuring every heartbeat and breath.

It may seem unusual to celebrate a six-month birthday, but not for Cayden’s family.

They remember his birth on October 29, 2013. They remember how the doctors explained the seriousness of his condition, how he had been born with the very rare combination of a congenital diaphragmatic hernia and hypoplastic left heart syndrome. How even with surgery, the chance of Cayden surviving these first six months was horribly small.

But Cayden wasn’t paying attention.

“He’s a little fighter,” says his mother, JaNette McGhee.

Cayden has spent his entire life at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center, most of it in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). It is here that multidisciplinary teams of cardiac surgeons and specialists, critical care doctors and nurses, respiratory therapists and other caregivers are giving Cayden precisely what he needs.

A fighting chance.

Ask any of the Children’s intensivists, cardiac specialists and surgeons, or the PICU nurses or administrators to describe a typical day in the 19-bed unit and the answer is often the same:

There is no such thing.

“Every day is typified by its unpredictability,” says Andrew Macfadyen, M.D., intensivist and the PICU’s medical director. “It only takes one really, really sick child to occupy your time, and some days we have two or three. It takes a collaborative effort, and there are days the team has to play zone defense because we just don’t have the time for man-to-man.”

The PICU at Children’s is the only one of its kind in the region to offer 24/7 in-house intensivist coverage by board certified physicians who have completed an additional three years of fellowship training in pediatric critical care following a three-year residency in pediatrics. In addition to the intensivists, it also offers 24/7 coverage by a senior pediatric, medicine-pediatrics or ER resident.

Continuously staffed by nurses and respiratory therapists trained in the care of critically ill and injured children, the Children’s PICU offers a full range of pediatric medical and surgical subspecialists available at all times.

“Over the past 17 years I have been here, I have seen Children’s and the PICU in particular grow from being a community pediatric facility to a regional referral center with an impressive national reputation,” says PICU clinical service chief Mohan Mysore, M.D., FAAP, FCCM, professor of pediatric critical care, University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine.

“Patients today receive a higher level of care and services that previously were not available here, including heart transplantation,” Dr. Mysore says. “Children who in the past would have to be transferred to other pediatric centers can now have many complex procedures performed here, where their families can be closer to home.”

Quality and consistency of care yields outcomes that rank the Children’s PICU among the best in a database of 38 comparable PICUs in North America that tracks survival, length of stay and other metrics, Dr. Mysore says.

The number of children hospitalized in the PICU and the severity of their illnesses have been steadily increasing. In 2010, the average daily census was 9.2 children, and the average length of stay was 5.9 days. In 2013, the numbers had risen to 12.7 children and 7.6 days.

Through April of 2014, an even greater level of activity: a daily census of 15 children and an average length of stay of 10.2 days.

The longer children stay in the PICU, the more the doctors and nurses become familiar with them. “You get to see their personalities and the little changes in them,” Dr. Macfadyen says. “You really come to know them and their families.

“Heck, some weeks I get to see them more than my own kids.”

Care in the PICU is family-centered. There is ample opportunity for parents to keep up on their child’s daily condition, ask questions of the doctors and nurses, even offer observations of their own that can be factored into the decision-making process.

“We don’t just focus on the patient,” says Children’s director of Critical Care & Intermediate Care Marcie Peterson, MSN, RN, CCRN, CNML. “We focus on the entire family.

It is unpredictable, fast-paced and physically and emotionally exhausting work. And it does not go unnoticed.

“I know one family who named the sibling of a child we had as a patient here after the nurse who cared for them,” Peterson says. “That’s quite a tribute.”

So are the significant awards the unit has earned, including the prestigious Beacon Award for Excellence, presented in 2013 by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). Of an estimated 6,000 intensive care units in the U.S., only 17 pediatric-designated critical care units at children’s hospitals have received Beacon recognition.

“This is the most prestigious intensive care award you can receive,” Dr. Mysore says. “Each member of our team shares in this honor and should be very proud of the quality care they provide to our region’s critically-ill children.”

To earn the Beacon Award, Children’s PICU excelled in the following areas as measured against evidence-based national criteria:

  • Leadership structures and systems;
  • Appropriate staffing and staff engagement;
  • Effective communication, knowledge management and best practices;
  • Evidence-based practice and processes; and
  • Patient outcomes.

In their evaluation, AACN reviewers noted several factors that distinguish Children’s PICU including strong unit leadership, caring practices, a commitment to excellence and an environment “that promotes healing and supports improved patient outcomes and satisfaction.”

Peterson says the award illustrates how the PICU team constantly goes above and beyond what is considered routine care.

“This isn’t just a job for them,” she says. “We’re like a second family, to the families we care for and to each other.”

Healthier Lives
for Children

Preventing childhood obesity is a significant focus for Children’s Hospital & Medical Center. We’ve dedicated resources to exploring new strategies and building community partnerships. Our goal embodies our founding mission, “…so that all children may have a better chance to live.”

Watch their story



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The Best
Place for Kids

2013 Snapshot

We say it often: children are unique; they are not just small adults. They deserve care that is developed specifically for them – care that is delivered each and every day at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center.

In 2013, we performed the first pediatric heart transplant in Children’s history. Our first patient, just two weeks old, has grown and is thriving. We delivered high risk babies with known congenital anomalies in our Fetal Care Center, and we received ongoing recognition from U.S. News & World Report as a Best Children’s Hospital.

The best place for kids. That’s Children’s.

Follow our journey, our snapshot of 2013.