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Spotlight: DUH team brings sunshine to pediatric cardiac ICU patients

Friday, August 11, 2017
By Blair Callahan
Emily Depetris, Katie Hepditch, Jon Meliones

Thanks to teamwork in action, six patients in the pediatric cardiac intensive care unit (PCICU) got to feel the sun for the first time in months – for some, the first time ever.

"Our patients rarely get to go outside, whether it be from how fragile they are or just not having the staff to cover an outing," said Emily Depetris, child and adolescent life specialist at Duke University Hospital. "It was a particularly nice day outside, and we decided there was no time like the present."

Depetris, seven PCICU nurses, and Jon Meliones, MD, worked together to coordinate the outing so the needed staff and family members could transport the patients outside with their beds and equipment. Everything was timed perfectly to align with medication schedules, feedings and treatments so that patient care was not interrupted. 

The entire unit received a Strength, Hope & Caring Award for organizing the outing.

Their nominator wrote, "The patients were able to have a sense of normalcy, even if it was for only 30 minutes, due to these fabulous staff members."