A Not-So-Tall Tale
At 6’2”, Taeya Brown measures her success not by how hard she can spike a volleyball, but by how she turned her lifelong interests into a satisfying career and lifestyle.
Born into a volleyball family in Kuliouou, Taeya reflected on the expectations her parents had for her growing up. “My mom and dad were both volleyball hall-of-famers, as was my brother (former University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior and Olympian Clay Stanley),” she said. “While I had success playing club volleyball growing up, my parents never pushed me to be a volleyball star. They wanted me to pursue my own interests.”
After her family relocated to Seattle when she was 12, Taeya continued playing volleyball while pursuing her dream of being a ballerina. “By the time I was 16, I was already 6ʻ tall and my ballet instructor suggested that my height disparity with my dance company would hinder opportunities to dance professionally with a partner,” she recalled.
She soon stopped ballet, eventually focusing on her passion for nutritional sciences instilled in her by her mom, who worked in nutrition research. “We always ate healthy growing up, and that gave me the knowledge and desire to study nutritional sciences at the University of British Columbia,” said Taeya, who also played volleyball there. “I just loved microbiology, virology and biochemistry, but by the time I graduated, I knew I didn’t want to do research like my mom.” Instead, Taeya moved back to Hawaii, where she worked for the next seven years as a deckhand on a tour catamaran in Waikiki while studying massage therapy and attending Hawaii Pacific University’s nursing program.
With her BSN and RN licenses in hand, Taeya’s world grew personally and professionally. “I married my soulmate, Aramis, the week before I started my first job as an inpatient nurse at a local hospital,” recalled Taeya. “I had my two kids during my first few years there, and the rotating schedule was tough on a new mom. Luckily, I did a lot of rounding with the doctors and infection preventionists, and they offered me an IP job with a day schedule.” When another local hospital asked her to lead their new infection prevention program, she soon felt it wasn’t the right fit. “That’s when I reached out to Pam (Carey-Goo) at Shriners Children's, who just happened to be retiring that year,” said Taeya, “so here I am!”
“What I love about Shriners Children’s is the sense of family and alignment we all share in caring for our keiki,” said Taeya. Although it can be overwhelming to have three jobs in one (infection preventionist, employee health coordinator and patient safety officer), Taeya takes great satisfaction in the autonomy she has to build upon the work of her predecessors. “I was fortunate to be able to modernize our policies and establish new protocols for things like surgical site infection prevention and managing multi-drug resistant organisms,” she said. “I am constantly researching the latest evidence, doing surveillance and risk assessments, educating staff and checking equipment to reduce any potential harm to both our keiki and staff.” It’s no wonder that about the only infectious thing in the hospital is Taeya’s smile.
Reflecting on her satisfying career and lifestyle, Taeya notes that she still enjoys sailing and remains active in volleyball, coaching kids at her dad’s Sunday clinic, including her own 10-year-old Simara and 8-year-old Elias. But her love for nutritional science continues with her appreciation for home gardening, where she grows a variety of fruits to put on her family’s table. “I may be serious about my family’s nutritional health, but there are far more lighthearted and goofy moments in our house than I care to admit,” she said with a grin.
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