A “relationship-based” leader touts telehealth for pediatric patients and practitioners

Simmy King, DNP“Can you imagine where you just press a button on a tablet and you’re a younger nurse and you can say ‘Hey, can you do this math with me or is this medication right or can you watch me to do this procedure’?”

This scenario may be reality for many nursing students and new professionals according to Simmy King, DNP, nursing director of clinical information systems and professional development at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

“Virtual nursing process not only supports the person at the bedside to support safe, accurate patient care, it increases that person’s confidence, it gives them a resource, and it’s also addressing what’s really a big concern in healthcare right now, is workforce shortage.”

Regis College Assistant Professor of Nursing and Nurses’ Station host Lawana Brown wanted to speak with Dr. King about the opportunities telehealth provides to nurses. Even before COVID, Children’s National was using remote technology in innovative ways.

“What COVID did was increase the need to leverage those technologies,” Dr. King explained. “What happened is it had to happen now, and I think we rose to the occasion in being able to look at how we used it not just in our ambulatory space but also then how do we leverage that technology in the in-patient setting and provide support to our community hospitals or other areas that really needed pediatric expertise or nursing expertise.”

“What we’re starting to see is that we can not only provide provider-to-patient services or clinician to patient services but there’s an opportunity to really leverage the technology in nurse-to-nurse support.”

As an employer, Children’s National is a trailblazer beyond technology. For example, their nurses provide healthcare services in the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County school systems. Dr. King, who arrived at the Hospital in 2005 as a Nurse Manager in the Heart and Kidney Unit, originally planned to become a pediatrician. But by the time she graduated from nursing school, she recalls, “It was really clear to me that I wanted to be a nurse. I was able to actually see what the experience was for the nurse, for the patient and for the provider and I thought it aligned best with me being a relationship-based individual.”

Dr. King never applied to medical school.

“I have been a nurse since 1995,” she notes, and “I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”