My name is Amy Neumann and I have been a nurse for 15 years. I started my career in 2005 as a bedside nurse in the Pediatric Critical Care Unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. I am dedicated to optimizing health and healing, while bridging gaps in care. In my time spent away from the hospital, I have been blessed to use my nursing expertise on medical mission trips outside of the United States and to provide care at a summer camp for children with serious health conditions.
In 2015, I found myself transitioning to the role of nurse navigator for complex congenital heart families at the Helen DeVos Congenital Heart Center. This role has changed my perspective in so many ways and I am forever grateful. I have had the privilege and opportunity to connect families with one another through community resources including the Children’s Healing Center. I have committed myself to their mission to provide social and emotional healing for all children. My experiences have and will continue to shape the type of care I provide- intentional, thoughtful, and to the best of my ability.
Families with an ill child experience many struggles, often feeling the need to live in a bubble to prevent illness. Having a child with a congenital heart defect (CHD) can be isolating. Their child’s condition consumes these families lives and take time away from themselves, their spouse, and their other children… the guilt is real. They miss work for planned and unplanned reasons, yet the bills do not magically disappear. Having a cost-free, germ-free place to go with their whole family is priceless.
“I have noticed that the families who go to the Children’s Healing Center smile more. They talk more. They exude a confidence and a sense of belonging. The Children’s Healing Center has been transformative for these families.”
Congenital heart kids may never “look” sick to the public eye. These children’s scars, medications, treatments, and struggles aren’t out in the open for all to see. These kids begin learning their limits at an early age. CHD requires lifelong specialized care, which means even when things are going “well” there is an ever-present fear of what is to come. There is stress leading up to routine appointments, and cardiologist approval is asked to be “cleared” in order for these children to do pretty much anything. The looming question of what and when the next intervention will be is always present.
The Children’s Healing Center offers a sense of belonging for these families who feel isolated and alone. It is a therapeutic place to play free of worry. You cannot help but feel better when you’re playing. I have noticed that the families who go to the Children’s Healing Center smile more. They talk more. They exude a confidence and a sense of belonging. The Children’s Healing Center has been transformative for these families.
-Amy Neumann, Referral Partner