Help us celebrate the holiday season by sharing joy with our Children’s Infusion Services team! Thinking about blood can make any of us squeamish, and seeing it can be even more intimidating to the children in our lives. Being treated for a condition that requires blood transfusions or chemotherapy infusions is no easy feat, especially during the holiday season. This time of year, we are proud that we can offer our pediatric patients the power of proximity and excellence by having access to high level care close to home. The Children’s Infusion Services (CIS) department at Renown Children’s Hospital is committed to bringing the gift of quality care to our community’s youngest patients. Whether they are caring for a child with a blood disorder or giving expert infusion care for a child battling cancer, no team does what they do better than these expert nurses, medical assistants, intake coordinators and physicians. ‘Tis the Season to Bring Hope As the only pediatric oncology and hematology program in the region, the CIS department has a lot of responsibility on their shoulders. From inpatient chemotherapy to outpatient infusion services, this team treats a long list of pediatric blood conditions including: Pediatric cancers Anemias Immune-mediated blood disorders Sickle-cell disease Bone marrow failure syndromes Bleeding disorders “Our team provides a large variety of services from labs draws, sedations for procedures, infusions for diagnoses such as Crohn's disease, blood transfusions, as well as chemotherapy,” said Jen Torres, RN. “Our team works extremely well together. We try to go above and beyond for our patients every day. It may be something as simple as a hug to comfort a parent or a special birthday gift for a patient.” “My job allows me to work with several departments and providers when coordinating care for our littlest of patients,” added Jane Strawn, Intake Coordinator. “I assure proper authorizations are in place for the care that is needed, I communicate with our families when scheduling appointments, I organize End of Treatment Celebrations, as well as birthday shout outs and work closely with our Child Life team to help make the challenging appointment little easier.” To best serve their patients, the team thrives on being expert multitaskers. Central line care, chemotherapy administration, blood transfusions, medication management, preventative injections, lab draws, lumbar punctures, biopsies, imaging – you name it, they do it. And they do it all with the utmost focus on safety and support. “Our days have a lot of variation, as we perform a number of different services,” said Meagan Bertotti, RN. “We provide infusions for patients with chronic or acute medical conditions and chemotherapy/biotherapy treatment to patients undergoing cancer treatments. Overall, though, we work as a team to make these difficult procedures and treatments as easy as possible for the patients and families by providing engagement and support.” “While we handle a lot of chemotherapy treatments for pediatric patients, we also do other infusions and transfusions as well such as blood and platelet transfusions, enzyme replacement therapies, different types of injections such as Rabies vaccine or Synagis for high-risk babies who need that extra protection during the RSV season, and lab draws,” said Chelsea Angues, RN. “We care for patients that get their therapies from outside hospitals, but the patient lives within the Reno area. We receive orders from those outside hospitals to care for those patients, so they can still be with their families and not have to travel.” As members of the Children’s Oncology Group, a highly-regarded clinical trials group where over 90% of pediatric cancer patients across the U.S. receive treatment, teams like CIS in Renown Children’s Hospital deliver the highest standard of care. This partnership is a true testament to the devoted collaboration and relationship-building this team commits to on behalf of their patients every day. "One of the biggest accomplishments of our team is the fact that we became a member of the Children’s Oncology Group, and the Children's Infusion Center and Pediatric Oncology became one unit,” said Shelby Nolte. "Instead of being a clinic on one side and an infusion center on the other, we really came together to make it a whole unit that collaborates on almost everything.” “We've put much time into trying to understand other departments, their flow, their rationales and their processes so we can come to a solution that benefits our patients the greatest,” added Tiffany Macie, RN. “We've taken the last few years to really build our relationships with our pharmacy staff, our lab staff and our central supply resources. Our relationship building extends beyond the walls of the Renown building as well and out to the community providers too. In the past few years, we've been able to build relationships with the providers in the community where they trust they can send us their patients for treatment and lab draws. Finally, we've spent much time working on the relationships as a team. It's emotional work we do on our unit, and these families become our family. It's important to us that we take the time to be together outside of our shifts to enjoy one another and laugh!” In the compassionate realm of pediatric healthcare, CIS knows that the complexities of a cancer or blood disorder diagnosis can take an emotional toll on their patients and families. The team firmly believes that emotional support can be as important as the physical and medical support throughout each patient’s unique care journey, striving to be a comforting presence during daunting times. “The most important part of my day is collaborating with the Children's Infusion team to make life manageable for the families that are going through this experience,” added Shelby Nolte, Senior Medical Assistant. “We work as a team to make life easier for the blow of a cancer diagnosis. We are there for our families in every way. If they need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen or just someone to play cards with or tell a funny story too, we are there.” “One of the things our team does extremely well to help our patients and their families with new diagnoses is to simply meet them where they are,” said Tiffany Macie. “That looks different for every family and every patient. We work in an environment where can build relationships with our patients and their families. This allows us the unique opportunity to really get to know them. We learn their fears, their joys, their worries, what their family lives are like, and we learn how to best meet them where they are.” Transcending the conventional boundaries of care, the CIS department closely supports each patient, offering them solace tailored to the unique fabric of each family's life.