Anna Brown, RN discusses pulmonary hypertension patients transitioning from pediatrics to adult program as well as the need for comprehensive palliative care that utilizes social workers and psychologists, and mental health providers. Anna is pediatric nurse practitioner at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.
My name is Anna Brown. I’m a pediatric nurse practitioner at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville Tennessee. I’ve been working in the Pediatric Pulmonary Hypertension program there for a little over five years, in the program with Dr. Eric Austin, who’s the Director of the program.
I do primarily patient care, whether that’s in-patient consults on our patients in the hospital, or following them in the out-patient setting. Seeing them in clinic for well and sick visits, and helping them in the in-between times over the phone.
Patients can be referred to us from outside centers. It’s not unusual for a lot of our patients to have been dealing with these symptoms for several years. Seeing various providers outside of our clinic, whether they’re living in another state or they were living outside of the Nashville area and seeing a general practitioner or another specialist. So it’s not unusual for patients to go several years with symptoms before anybody has a suggestion that they might have pulmonary hypertension. And then they are at that point referred to our center. And we schedule a diagnostic heart catheterization for them to confirm the diagnosis, and then go from there as far as what our treatment plan is.
It’s tough information to swallow when you are given a diagnosis that your child has a terminal illness. And that it’s a disease that’s going to progress and that at this time we don’t have a cure for it. I think giving them the assurance that we’re going to be with them every step of the way, as we kind of unfold in their story a little bit more and determine what is causing it and what treatment’s going to look like and what changes that’s going to…