Bonnie Ste. Marie, RN, wears many hats as a nurse in Neurology at Children’s. But the one she loves the most is taking care of children and helping families feel empowered to do the same. Read about Bonnie’s experience in a specialty ranked among the best by U.S. News & World Report.
Q: What made you want to work at Children’s and why Neurology?
BSM: Children’s was attractive to me for so many reasons. It’s a place that people travel to from all over the country to get world-class care. I wanted to be part of a hospital team with the ability to collaborate and enhance outcomes. I also wanted to be part of maximizing safe, quality, compassionate care knowing that my role is only a piece of the puzzle in giving the best care possible. I desired to work at a teaching hospital because it is a dynamic environment where sharing knowledge is the culture.
The teamwork and highest level of care is valuable to me, but most importantly, I work here for the kids. I have yet to find anything more rewarding than taking care of children. Kids are so resilient and incredibly optimistic. Some of the kids we see in the Neurology clinic have diagnoses that stop most healthy adults in their tracks, but these kids keep such a “can-do” attitude.
- U.S. News & World Report
Neurology & Neurosurgery
- Availability of Subspecialists
- Ranked “superior” for availability of subspecialists such as pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons.
- Prevention of Surgical Complications
- Ranked “high” for success in avoiding surgical complications and readmissions.
- Management of Epilepsy Patients
- Ranked “high” for treatment of children and infants with epilepsy.
Q: Tell me about your role in Neurology.
BSM: I do everything from providing medication teaching and ordering genetic testing to coordinating physician referrals and communicating lab testing and results. The clinic nurses often serve the families as the communication beacon between multiple subspecialties, various send-out labs, pharmacies, the school and primary care physicians. Within Neurology, I work in the Neuromuscular clinic. Some of the many diagnoses we treat include Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, Becker muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, Myasthenia gravis, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Neuropathy and Myopathy. Other subspecialty clinics within Neurology include programs for children with epilepsy, strokes, autism, demyelinating diseases and rare neurological disorders.
Q: How does your current role challenge you?
BSM: I have always believed in being a lifelong learner, and I love to surround myself with people who challenge me to better myself intellectually. Neurology certainly serves all of these professional goals, above and beyond. It has been a place where I can learn something new every day, and research is constantly breaking new ground. It is exciting to be in a specialty that feels like the last frontier. There is still so much we do not know, and no two days are alike.
Q: Why did you pursue nursing?
BSM: I had a yearning to help and serve people. Since childhood, I have always loved science and later in my studies this was where I found myself excelling. When I went off to college, I knew I wanted to have a career in my future and not just a job. Nursing has provided me with many opportunities to build a fulfilling career I adore.
Q: What are you proudest of regarding your work in Neurology?
BSM: With the multifaceted needs of our complex patients, I have worked with our team to recently identify the need for a health care concierge to help with coordination. We are working toward the Neurology clinic being the pilot service for the development of this medical concierge program. If it is a success, I will be proud to have been part of the establishment.
Q: What do you find to be the hardest part of your job?
BSM: Not having all the answers for families who are searching so hard for one. Even with all the ongoing research, there are diseases we cannot cure and diagnoses that take years to make. Walking with families through that difficult process is always a challenging undertaking.
Q: What makes you look forward to work every day?
BSM: I love the opportunity to advocate for patients with intricate needs and help meet their medical needs to hopefully keep them out of the hospital and enjoy their everyday life a little bit more. I also love being part of a team who is so specialized and well-respected that patients are willing to travel far and wide to get the care for which they are so desperately searching.
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