Natalie Bushaw and the team of volunteers on our Parent Advisory Board (PAB) serve as an important link between University of Minnesota Health staff and physicians and our patient community.
Natalie chose to join the board after her son’s second open heart surgery at the University of Minnesota in 2006. Since then, she has worked diligently to help improve the hospital experience for other families.
We spoke with Natalie to learn more about the role of the PAB, and the work of its members affects the day-to-day experiences our patients share when they visit University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital.
Interested in becoming a volunteer member of the board? email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you become involved in the Parent Advisory Board for University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital?
During our son’s second open heart surgery in fall 2006—which was a longer than expected stay full of unplanned complications—our family saw many opportunities to give input to help improve the patient experience. Given we had extra time on our hands, we wrote a letter to the leadership team at the hospital. Within 24 hours we were working closely with staff on those areas and others. At that time, the Nurse Manager on the PICU invited us to come to a Parent Advisory Board meeting. I’ve never looked back!
Describe the Parent Advisory Board’s role in the daily operations of the hospital.
Our PAB had the great fortune of playing an integral role on the development of the new Masonic Children’s Hospital building. We helped develop the design of the rooms, color schemes, critical items for patient rooms and more. Our work on the new hospital building created a great deal of pride for our board—a legacy that continues today. Our involvement then was also a turning point for the board; after that, the staff noted the need for and importance of parent input. Today, when various groups are looking to improve processes or generate new ideas, they often come to the PAB for help.
How does your work affect the experience our patients and families have when they enter our hospital?
I’d like to think our work on the board has improved the experience patients and families share at Masonic Children’s Hospital. We’ve given input on many diverse topics, ranging from the admission process, to nursing shift changes to how doctor rounding happens on each hospital floor. When families walk into the hospital, it is our goal to make them feel welcome, to ease fears and to feel that other families have been here before them to create a place where healing happens.
What do you love about the University of Minnesota Health community?
I love the collaboration our board shares with other groups within the hospital and clinics. I love seeing how various teams have improved their care for kids whether checking in at the ER to how/when the housekeeping teams come and clean the rooms to follow up after families leave.
What is one thing you would like potential Parent Advisory Board members to know as they consider whether to volunteer?
The work of the PAB matters! While some times our movement may seem small, in reality our involvement is grand and because of it, UMMCH continues to become a fantastic place focused and committed to patient and family centered care!