Nurse-led Podcast Brings Connection and Education to #1 Pediatric Heart Center

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The cardiovascular system is a highly complex arrangement between the heart, blood vessels, and all other organs, tissues, and cells in the body. As the #1 pediatric hospital in the nation for cardiology and heart surgery, Texas Children’s is committed to setting a new standard for the children and adults we treat. The quality of care and compassion given to our precious heart patients and families is unparalleled – our program is there for them whether inpatient in the OR/CATH Lab, CICU and CPCU, or outpatient through follow-ups and programs like the Developmental Care Clinic.

With a team of 900+ employees across multiple disciplines, running the Heart Center demands a tremendous level of teamwork, coordination and innovation. Just as we innovate at the bedside with pioneering therapies, we must also innovate the ways we work together. We mentioned the idea of a podcast for the Heart Center a few years ago, and staff members expressed interest when surveyed on ways to enhance culture, team connectedness and education. Through an initiative that encouraged nurses to voice their ideas and seek professional growth, the I Heart the Heart podcast was born.

Now that we had an opportunity to reach team members, both inpatient and outpatient, we set out to find equipment and a place to record. Though we didn’t have podcasting experience, we taught ourselves the basics and got support from IT. After a few hours of watching how-to videos, getting through multiple trial-and-error retakes with the microphones and headphones, and learning the difference between a USB and a lightning cable, we had our pilot episode. We post new episodes every month, and each one takes several hours to plan, record and edit. We’re both in graduate school, so it’s not an easy feat, but spreading the word about something we care so deeply about makes it worth the occasional sleepless night!

The bottom line is simple – we know that caring for patients with congenital heart defects can be complicated and overwhelming, so how can such a large team come together and learn from each other?

“I’m always excited about work that brings our teams together,” said Carmen Watrin, one of our amazing nurse leaders. “The podcast highlights the accomplishments of our team members and reminds us all of the ‘why’ we come to work, the special paths we’ve taken that bring us all together. I look forward to the podcasts every month!”

As an organization, we strive to be the best – not just in numbers, but also in compassion, which can’t be measured. To achieve these high standards, we must continue to push the boundaries. Now that we’ve recorded several “Getting to Know the Heart Center” episodes that feature prominent team members like a child life specialist, chaplain, and multiple doctors, the next series will expand to case studies, nursing bedside recommendations and more educational opportunities.

Though our podcasts are currently only available internally, we encourage other nurses and providers to innovate the way they connect with their own teams. Our case is proof enough that you don’t need much experience – just passion and determination! So, as we say at the end of every episode: “Don’t skip a beat! We’ll see you next time.”

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