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Reflections of a Staff Nurse at Shriners Children's St. Louis

Any surgery comes with its own anxieties and concerns, but there is a certain elevated level of tension and worry when a child is having surgery. Many children are scared and intimidated by the whole experience.

No doubt about it, the patient’s family is nervous and wants nothing more than for their child to get the best care and outcomes possible. Colleen Hogland doesn’t take that lightly.

“We have stayed true to the mission by providing the highest quality care to our kids in a compassionate, family-centered environment,” Colleen said about Shriners Children’s St. Louis, the hospital to which she has dedicated the last four decades of her career. “We also continue research to improve our patients’ quality of life.”

Colleen prides herself on working for a healthcare system that emphasizes quality care in every way, and takes personal responsibility for providing the most amazing care anywhere for children and families facing surgeries.

Colleen spent nearly 30 years as a staff nurse in one of the Shriners Children’s St. Louis inpatient-nursing units. Since 2009, though, she has been an integral part of the pre-op and recovery team. She values the fact that Shriners Children’s mission never wavers. While the mission remains the same, things have changed a lot over Colleen’s long career in nursing.

“Our kids’ length of stay is so much shorter now,” Colleen said. “Visiting hours have changed a lot too. When I first came, even parents had to follow set visiting hours and were not allowed to stay overnight. All of the charting was on paper until 2004, when SHCIS (Shriners Hospitals for Children Internet System) came into our lives. I started in the day when we used ‘one-inch by one-inch’ medication cards to pass our meds. Now of course, we use the Medication Administration Wizard with barcoding.”

While technology has advanced the practice and presented its own challenges over the years, Colleen’s favorite part of the job never changes. “The kids are what make working here so special and wonderful,” she said. “I love working at Shriners because of the beautiful, loving, happy, strong children we get to help get better every day.”

Interactions with patients have provided a lot of special memories for Colleen over the years, but one encounter stands out. “We had a party at the old hospital before it closed in 2015, and so many of our previous long-term patients came back to see us,” she recalled. “It was like a big reunion of patients, doctors and staff. The first patient I ever took care of in 1982 attended the party. I hadn’t seen Dawn or her mom in more than 25 years.”

For Colleen, it felt like mission accomplished.

“It was just so special to see them again,” she said. “They were still so grateful for the care received at Shriners and how it changed her life.”

Colleen

Colleen Hogland has been a nurse at Shriners Children's St. Louis for 40 years.

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