After traveling around the country — from California to Florida to Virginia — as a traveling PICU nurse, Caitlin Puntel opted for a change upon returning to her home state in 2018. She craved the ability to grow up with her patients, from birth all the way to high-school graduation, so she made the switch to primary care.
Today, Caitlin is Akron Children’s newest certified nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Portage. Her cross-country travels have well prepared her for her new role at home, especially when it comes to flexibility and welcoming new ideas and ways of doing things.
So what is she most looking forward to in this new role? “Advocating and educating patients — and their families, too — on the importance and benefits of healthy living for growing kids.”
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s Hospital?
Akron Children’s has always been a staple in the community as “an amazing place to work.” When I worked in the area as an RN in 2015 before moving around the country, I knew if I ever moved back, I’d want to grow my career at Akron Children’s.
Describe your role at Akron Children’s and what you hope to accomplish?
I am a primary care nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s Hospital Pediatrics, Portage, and soon-to-be QuickCare in September. I want to be able to reach out to the Kent/Ravenna community in ways of advocating and educating families on important healthcare issues for children.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
I am in primary care. Previously, I was a PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit) nurse for the first 8 years of my nursing career, and while I absolutely loved working with the amazing, resilient patients in the PICU, I was ready to grow up with my patients, from birth to high-school graduation.
What’s the best part of your day?
The best part of my day is simply seeing my patients. Kids say the best things. There isn’t a day that goes by where a kiddo doesn’t say something that makes my heart happy.
What achievements are you most proud of?
I am most proud of graduating with my MSN and landing the career I have been working so hard towards achieving, here at Akron Children’s.
What excites you most about medicine?
Being able to figure out the puzzle, and being able to promote healthy living and well-being for all of my patients and their family, as well.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me simply means being able to wake up every day and getting ready for a job that you ultimately love. You know you’re successful when you can say, “This is why I do what I do,” at least once a day.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Tallmadge and spent my time with my family in Kent. I also went to college here at Kent State University.
Who makes up your family, including pets and their names?
I have two cats, brothers Charles and Leonard, who have helped me overcome a lot of heartache in the last 2 years. I also have a puppy named Gus. He is more spunk and sass than anyone can handle.
Who had the greatest influence on you and why?
My friends and family have had the greatest influence on me. They have always been my loudest and most dedicated cheerleaders throughout my life. I absolutely wouldn’t be who I am without them.
What do you do when you aren’t working?
When I’m not working, I am either enjoying the outdoors or getting a good workout with my Crossfit family at AllHeart Crossfit in Kent.
What’s the first thing you do when you get home from work?
The first thing I do when I get home is say hello to my furbabies. Then, I make sure to get my workout in.
What’s your favorite holiday?
July 4th is absolutely my favorite holiday. Not only is it my birthday, but it’s also full of sunshine, fireworks and ice cream!
What are the small things that make your day better?
Getting snuggles from my furbabies is the sole part of my day that will always put a smile on my face.