Nurse educates patients in top-ranked pulmonary clinic

pulmonology - U.S. News & World Report Badge

Pam Petersen, RN, realized her dream to care for others as a nurse at age 16. For six years, Pam has treated patients in Pulmonology at Children’s, recognized as one of the best specialties in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report.

Here, Pam tells us about her journey to nursing and her role in one of the top-ranked pulmonary clinics.

Q: What made you want to work at Children’s and why Pulmonology?

PP: I was actually recruited by a doctor who works at Children’s. My start in pulmonary was from the Baylor Emergency Room to a highly driven asthma/pulmonology center with strong support to become a certified asthma educator and to be published and very active in the community. I have been hooked ever since.

Q: What diagnoses do you treat? Tell me about your role in Pulmonology.

PP: Asthma and muscular dystrophy are my two main pulmonary focuses although we are involved with all of the pulmonary patients.

We have a very active tele-health call load. In clinic and on the phone, I am involved with case management needs and the education of patients – how to take their medication, which medication to take, how to control their asthma, identifying asthma triggers and how to best avoid those triggers. For the muscular dystrophy patients, there is also a lot of case management responsibilities – education about what to do when they become ill from a respiratory standpoint, as well as making sure they have all their pulmonary needs met in regards to equipment.

Q: Tell me about your journey to nursing.  

PP: At the time I made this decision, I was a 16-year-old high school graduate making $1.85 an hour. I was excited and proud at the thought of becoming a nurse, plus I liked the financial stability this profession offered, as well as the flexibility of being able to find a job anywhere.

I went to a three-year nursing school in the town of Elmira in upstate New York. I graduated at age 20 and followed my family to Texas. I did not plan to stay at the time – now I have been married for 28 years and have four wonderful grown children and their spouses and five amazing grandchildren.

Q: What are you proudest of regarding your work in Pulmonology?

PP: I have been one of the asthma educators at Camp Broncho for the past three summers. I am also a certified asthma educator and have two abstracts accepted at two national pulmonary conferences.

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