Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, DC, has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is Magnet® designated, and was ranked among the top 10 pediatric hospitals by U.S. News & World Report 2015-16. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is one of the nation’s top NIH-funded pediatric institutions. With a community-based pediatric network, seven regional outpatient centers, an ambulatory surgery center, two emergency rooms, an acute care hospital, and collaborations throughout the region, Children’s National is recognized for its expertise and innovation in pediatric care and as an advocate for all children.
Location: Children's National Medical Center
Megan Mendoza, RN, BSN, CPN, CCRN
At the age of eleven, Megan was diagnosed and treated for leukemia. On Thanksgiving day of her freshman year of high school the cancer came back. She survived two grueling years of chemotherapy and radiation, as well as a cord blood transplant, and she now works in the same ICU at Children’s National where she once received treatment. She knows intimately what children go through while managing a grave illness, and what they can expect down the road if they survive.
Deborah LaFond, DNP, PPCNP-BC, CPON, CHPPN
Deborah is part of the PANDA Palliative Care team at Children’s National: a nurse-led program which seeks to help relieve the various emotional and practical burdens that families often face when their children are diagnosed with a life limiting illness. As a parent herself, she understands that it’s extremely difficult to make treatment decisions with a very sick child, and she and her team try to shoulder as much of that burden as they can.
Cheryl Fimian, RN
Cheryl works in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit with critically ill patients ranging from premie babies to adults with Congenital Heart Defects. She reads signals that families give her throughout the treatment process and tries to help them find hope, no matter the outcome. For some that hope will manifest as recovery, whereas for others that hope will mean the end of suffering.
Pamela Hinds, PhD, RN, FAAN
Early in her nursing career, Pam was struck by the fact that some children could survive difficult illnesses and traumas, while others couldn’t. This led her to a career of extensive research, where she explores the roles that communication, hopefulness, and palliative care can play in increasing healthy outcomes for entire family units, even in situations where death is inevitable.
Ashleigh Harlow, RN, BSN, CCRN
Ashleigh was a travel nurse before she landed at Children’s. She was drawn to pediatrics after nursing school and feels that she has found a great home in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit, where she sees many children recover to live full, healthy lives. However, some children don’t, and she tries to make their final days as rich as possible.