Riley’s OR Nurses: “We care for your child like we’d care for our own.”
In celebration of National Nurses’ Day, we introduce you to a special group of Riley operating room nurses who are more than colleagues―they’re a “family” that’s worked together for more than three decades.
Laura Miller, RN, is a Family Support Nurse and Clinical Service Facilitator Perioperative Patient Satisfaction with 39 years at Riley. Kristy Mattingly, RN, is Clinical Service Facilitator Pediatric Surgery Service, with 34 years at Riley. Diane Siebold, RN, is Clinical Service Facilitator Neurosurgery Service and has spent 33 years with Riley. Mary Louden, RN, is Operating Room Nurse in Pediatric Surgery with 38 years at Riley. Just in the last two months, two other longtime OR nursing colleagues have retired: Deb Zachary, RN (39 years) and Janet Barnett (37 years), and eight other nurses have been on the team for 20-plus years.
We asked this unique and dedicated group of nurses to give us a glimpse into what makes their work special.
Q: Tell us about your roles at Riley and what you enjoy about your work?
A: We all enjoy our role in the OR because we play an active role in caring for complex patients in the state of Indiana. We have trained new nurses and watched them grow in their role and become clinical experts. This is a great source of satisfaction for all of us. We are a team in the OR. Our team of nurses, surgical techs, surgeons and anesthesiologist are a family. We know what to do in an emergency and we support each other when needed. Working in the OR doesn’t allow you to get the feedback most people get from patients and families, but what we do have is a close-knit family who cares for each other. We have a variety of cases and procedures to learn and instruct. There is always something new being developed and it is the OR nurse’s responsibility to know how to operate complex equipment, from lasers, robots, open heart, transplant, ECMO and all forms of implants and instruments.
Q: What is most special to your group about sharing more than three decades of Riley nursing experience?
A: We have all worked for at least 30 years together, some of us closer to 40. We have grown up with each other―we started here in our 20s and we have gone to each other’s weddings, started families together, seen our kids get married and now some of us have grandchildren. We are all very comfortable with each other. We can lean on each other. We have gone through so many changes over the years. We have seen procedures developed that save children’s lives today that there was no hope for survival when we first started. We have seen advancements in surgery that we could never have imagined in our early careers. We have all been a part of developing these changes and we are lucky to be able to witness the difference it has made in the lives of the children of Riley today. It is very rewarding to work with such talented surgeons, nurses and anesthesiologists.
Q: What do you want people to know about nurses at Riley?
A: We want people to know we are highly committed to care of patients at Riley. Pediatric nursing is not for everyone. We work here because we love taking care of the most vulnerable of patients. It is a challenging job that takes a high level of skill. As an OR nurse it is a job that challenges you every day. We love working here because you learn something each day you come to work. The training is intense. We want people to know that even though we don’t get to know our families and patients as well as other nursing specialties, we take the best care of their most cherished child. We are compassionate about their children. It is an intense time when a parent gives their child to the OR nurse to go back to surgery. Even though the family is scared, our nurses have deep compassion and take great care of your child. We care for your child like we’d care for our own.
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