For as long as Deb Young, Ask Children’s nurse in Children’s After Hours, can remember, she’s been captivated by babies of all kinds. Her mother recognized her softheartedness, allowing Deb to bring home stray kittens, rescue abandoned baby birds and bunnies and care for the neighbor’s younger children. By the time Deb graduated from high school, she had laid the groundwork to work with babies and children, ultimately launching a 41-year career at Akron Children’s.
On Jan. 18, Deb leaves full-time nursing, but she isn’t going far. She plans to continue as needed at Children’s After Hours. She also wants to enjoy more family and personal time, including traveling and gardening.
What brought you to Children’s?
In high school, I took a vocational health sciences program, while also volunteering as a candy striper at Children’s. I decided to pursue my LPN at Akron School of Practical Nursing and after graduation, applied at Children’s. Initially, I worked in the Burn Center, but my heart was set on caring for the tiny babies in NICU (neonatal intensive care unit). Every week, I visited Human Resources and asked the department secretary, Cecilia Dugan, if NICU had an opening. She was kind and encouraging. After months of continually checking, Eileen Enin in NICU hired me, eventually becoming a mentor.
Have you always worked in the same department and role?
I worked in the Burn Center for 3 months before moving to the afternoon shift in NICU, where I worked for 15 years. During that time, I earned my associate’s degree in nursing (ADN) by going full time to Walsh University while working afternoons and weekends. By then, I had met and married my husband, started a family and wanted shorter hours. I joined the emergency department (ED), handling telephone communications in the statewide poison control center for 2 1/2 years until it moved to Cincinnati. I continued for 5 more years in ED and urgent care. In 2001, I started working day shift on the Ask Children’s customer care team. I missed interacting directly with children and their families, so I also began working as needed at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics in Green.
What have your biggest contributions been while here?
I hope in some small way I’ve made a difference while caring for our families, children and the staff at Children’s. It’s been a privilege to work, grow and learn among the best of the best. Being a nurse, I’ve had the opportunity to touch people’s lives in many ways. Often these experiences have affected me in ways I didn’t expect and opened my heart and eyes to many wonderful life lessons.
How has Akron Children’s changed since you started here?
As we’ve grown to serve our community, it resulted in not knowing hospital staff personally. Fortunately, Children’s offers many opportunities for folks to work together and make a difference. For me, that included getting involved on Shared Governance Council, Employee Foundation Council and Magnet group. I met many employees who shared stories about where they work, which helped me in my various roles.
What gave you the most satisfaction at work?
Kids are trusting, open and funny at times, even when they don’t feel well. I enjoyed being able to help them feel better or calmer when they were scared. I also liked working with families, teaching them how to care for their child at home and assuring them we’re here for them always.
What’s your most memorable moment at Akron Children’s?
Earning my ADN. I took my last final, gave birth the next day and 5 days later, walked across the stage holding my newborn to accept my diploma. Getting my degree opened so many doors professionally.
With so many children here, did someone especially touch your heart?
Two of my NICU babies stand out, especially since their families continued to stay in touch. One even works at Children’s now as a nurse. Both of them attended a ceremony when I was honored with the 2016 Cameos of Caring nursing award.
Do you have any advice for people just starting at Children’s?
Remember you have the ability to touch people’s lives. Be patient and kind, especially when you’re dealing with families and staff under stress.
What couldn’t you live without?
My family, reading my nightly devotionals and dark chocolate.
What’s the last book your read?
“The Hope Jar” by Wanda E. Brunstetter
What’s the last movie you saw?
“I Can Only Imagine”