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Nurse Spotlight: Anthony Bodnar

Growing up, Anthony Bodnar always knew he wanted to pursue a career that would make a difference in the lives of others as he was determined to leave his mark on the world. After taking the advice of a family member who encouraged him to consider a career that complimented his character and caring nature, Bodnar decided to enroll in the nursing program at San Jacinto College.

"I knew San Jacinto was known for thei rgreat Associates nursing program so I took a chance and signed up for the appropriat ecourses," said Bodnar. "And that is where my passion for nursing began from day one." Once he completed his course work, Bodna rbegan his career on a general medicine floor at a small hospital in southeast Texas in February 2010. He then realized that pediatrics was his calling and transferred to Texas Children's Hospital in May 2011 where he works as an RN on the orthopedic and surgical floor. He currently spends part of his week taking care of four pre-operation and/or post-operation patients who have had, or are preparing to have, a variety of surgeries. "My job is to make sure that they receive the most personalized medical care that focuses on the patient and the family with the most up to date evidence based practice," said Bodnar.

The remaining part of his week he works as a nurse on Texas Children's Mobile Sedation Team. This responsibility involves him working alongside physicians who will sedate patients needing minor procedures that may be too painful or too scary for the child to receive awake but does not require the extensive equipment of the operating room. His role as a mobile sedation nurse is to manage the airway of the patient during the procedure and watch over them in the recovery area once the procedure is complete.

"I really enjoy being able to make the patient as comfortable as possible for a procedure that would normally be done awake and to see that we are able to reduce the anxiety and fear that many children have of hospitals and medical professionals," said Bodnar. "I love making a patient's experience an enjoyable one while they receive the best care possible and I'm beyond lucky to have the opportunity to do that at Texas Children's Hospital every day."

Additionally, Bodnar serves on several other hospital teams and committees as his way to give as much as possible to the hospital and the patients he serves. He's currently an active member on the hospital's Performance Improvement Committee where his focus is to monitor and sustain compliance with performance committee measures and unit experience. He is also a member of Texas Children's hospital-wide Decontamination Team that prepares for potential contamination events. The team is responsible for putting together an emergency management plan for decontamination that is customized to meet the needs of the patients, families and staff of Texas Children's. "I live and breathe for my patients so any spare time I have is committed to ensuring I can be a part of something that betters their lives and their experiences at that hospital," said Bodnar.

When Bodnar isn't tied up working his nursing shifts he is busy studying. He is currently enrolled in the Masters in Business Administration program at Grand Canyon University and has plans to graduate in the summer of 2014.

Bodnar is a prime example of the type of outstanding nurses Texas Children's strives to hire as they are such an instrumental part in the patient's and family's experience. Dr. Eugene Kim, pediatric surgeon at Texas Children's, emphasizes the importance of the hospital's incredible nursing staff.

"Our nurses are absolutely the best surgical nurses in the country," said Kim. "They are intimately aware of the patient's surgical problems and know how to recover them faster post-operatively. They provide tough love to kids and help them mobilize and get about before they are ready to do so. They do all this and provide a kind and cheery attitude every day.”

These attributes are evident when it comes to Bodnar. In 2012, one of his past patient families recognized him for going above and beyond the call of nursing duty and they nominated him for the Daisy Award- a nation-wide program that rewards excellence in the field of nursing. The award recognizes those nurses that exhibit exceptional clinical skills and extraordinary compassion each and every day.

“Anthony goes that extra step to provide the timeliest and efficient care of his kids,” said Kim. “He goes out of his way to ensure that his kids are ready and prepped for mobile sedation procedures and bedside procedures on the floor. The patients and the families absolutely love his kind and compassionate care and the surgery team at Texas Children’s is beyond lucky to have him.”

- By Elizabeth Shackouls