Pam Petersen Story
When Pam Petersen, RN, AE-C, Pulmonology, was in fifth grade, her sister severed her radial artery after accidentally breaking a glass window with her hand. Instinctively, Pam, who would go on to become one of the 2018 D Magazine Excellence in Nursing winners years later, put pressure on the wound to stop the bleeding – and from then on, she was always interested about how the body worked.
Her curiosity led her to Arnot-Ogden Memorial Hospital School of Nursing in upstate New York, and immediately after graduation, she moved to Dallas, where she has lived ever since.
She spent the first couple decades of her nursing career in adult trauma and critical care units and worked in a pulmonary outpatient clinic before eventually joining the Pulmonary Clinic at Children's Health 11 years ago.
Pam says one of the things she likes most about her job is educating patients and families about their health.
"I like teaching people how to take care of their children at home so they can stay out of the hospital," she says. "I try to help them understand how to manage their individual conditions instead of feeling like the condition controls them."
Her job is not without its challenges, the biggest of which Pam says is getting the patients and their families to buy into each treatment plan, and she works tirelessly to show them the difference staying in compliance really makes.
"I try to show each patient how steps like taking their medication, avoiding triggers and using their equipment or wearing their PAP machines while they sleep will not only help them feel better, but in many cases it helps prevent harm," Pam says.
But Pam is also quick to point out that the people – her patients, families and co-workers – are what makes all the hard work worth it.
"The children can be so comical and can really brighten your day," she says. "And I am in awe every day of the awesome people I work with and their dedication to our patients and each other. The importance we all place on teamwork, unity and respect for one another makes every day at work enjoyable."
To those who know her, this award comes as no surprise.
"Pam enjoys teaching families, uses strong listening skills when handling patient calls and has a great rapport with our patients and their families," says Julie O'Neal, BSN, RN, Team Leader, Pulmonary Clinic and Sleep Disorders Clinic. "She is a vital member to our excellent team of nurses."
When Pam isn't at work, she stays busy with her dogs, traveling and trying out new recipes. But what she values most is her time spent with family.
"My husband and I are blessed to live very close to all of our four children, my mother and six grandchildren," she says. "So I can really stay as busy as I want to be."