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Bear Essentials Online - April 2010

Children's National: Defining the Standard of Care for Pulse Oxidation

Babies born with serious congenital heart disease can appear healthy and often are sent home without showing any signs or symptoms. However, serious complications may occur that require the baby to be taken to an emergency department for lifesaving care.

Congenital Heart Disease is the most common birth defect, affecting eight in 1,000 newborns. At Children’s National, our pediatric specialists have been testing the use of pulse oximetry (or pulse ox) to detect congenital heart disease in newborns at Holy Cross Hospital. Pulse ox is a painless, non-invasive test that detects the amount of oxygen in the blood. A probe is placed on the baby’s foot for a few moments. If the reading is below a defined threshold, the child can be referred to pediatric specialists for further testing.

The ultimate goal of Children's National is to have pulse ox testing become a standard of care (like the PKU test) for all newborns. We are working with several other birthing hospitals in the metropolitan area, and across the country, to implement the testing soon. To find out more about the congenital heart disease screening program, visit

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The Parent's Letter Project
The Parent Letter Project

Sometimes the only way to be sure you’re making the right decision about something important is to get a little advice from someone who has been through the same thing.

Children’s National Medical Center has launched an exciting new project – The Parent’s Letter Project. It allows parents of patients at Children’s National to provide support to families undergoing similar treatments by writing letters of advice and support. 

Imagine how valuable what you learned during your experience could be to a parent just embarking on a similar journey. Visit to share your story.

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My Teen Has Had Sex, Now What Do I Do?

Help teens make safe, sensible, self-reliant choices when they’ve already said “Yes.”

You want your teen to wait to have sex until he or she is mature enough to handle all the potential consequences, from the physical dangers to the emotional ups and downs. But what if you’re faced with the all-too-common reality of a teen who won’t wait?

Assess the Realities
Your teenager has had sex. It may be a lofty goal to convince your teen to “stop.” Make an effort to get teens to stop long enough to think before they act. By talking to your teen about the experience, you’ll help bring about personal conclusions on whether being sexually active is the right thing, right now.

Educate Yourself
Understanding the realities of teens and sex will help put your own teen’s actions in perspective:
  • In the United States, the average age for first sexual intercourse is 16.9 for boys and 17.4 for girls.
  • Forty-eight percent of high schoolers reported they have had sex at least once.
  • Fifteen percent of high schoolers have had four or more sex partners in their lifetime.
Work on Acceptance
The older your teen is, the more likely you’ll have to accept his or her independence or risk alienating your child entirely. It is important to use your influence and guide your teen into making informed decisions to help develop values, and be there for support. There are times when, of course, independence is not in order. The need to protect teens takes priority over their independence if the teen is:
  • Under fourteen
  • Is in an abusive or destructive relationship
  • Having sex with someone who is more than four years older (or more than three years older for teens under sixteen)
  • Engaging in high-risk sexual activity
  • Engaging in sexual activity under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Maureen Lyon, PhD, ABPP, is a licensed clinical psychologist within the Division of Adolescent Medicine at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. Her book, “My Teen Has Had Sex, Now What Do I Do?” is available on

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Children's National Medical Center Achieves Magnet™ Designation

Magnet designationOnly 6 percent of hospitals across the country have achieved Magnet status, and an even smaller percentage of these are pediatric hospitals.

Children’s National Medical Center recently joined an elite group of hospitals worldwide to achieve Magnet designation, a nationally recognized accreditation from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). This is the highest national and international recognition that can be bestowed on an organization and its nursing team.

“Magnet status provides patients and families with the ultimate measure of quality care. Magnet organizations are changing the way healthcare is delivered around the world,” said Karen Drenkard, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, director, Magnet Recognition Program, ANCC.

Specifically, Magnet recognition celebrates quality patient care, nursing excellence, and innovations in professional nursing practice. This award is an easy benchmark for families to understand how the quality of care provided at Children’s National compares to other regionally and nationally-known institutions. Children’s National and other Magnet hospitals have lower patient mortality, fewer medical complications, improved patient safety, and higher patient satisfaction than other hospitals.

Magnet designation also means that Children’s National can recruit and retain the highest quality nursing staff. Children’s National nurses are innovators, leaders, researchers, educators, and advocates for the patients and families they care for. Most importantly, they play a vital role in providing the best care possible to the nation’s children.

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Children's National Day at Nationals Park

Come root for the Washington Nationals against the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sunday, April 25, and support Children's National. When you buy a $24 ticket, $8 will be donated to help Children's National Medical Center create a world-class Pediatric Diabetes Care Complex. Please join us for Children’s National Day at Nationals Park.

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Did You Know?

Did you know that 40% of the nurses at Children's National have at least one masters degree? Nursing excellence: the nation’s children deserve nothing less. Back to Top

Recipe of the Month - Veggie Taquitos
Taquito recipe
Finger food in minutes.

  • 2 cups frozen vegetables, thawed (peas, carrots, and corn)
  • 1/3  cup crumbled shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 12 corn tortillas, warmed
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups fresh salsa
  • 1/2 avocado, chopped
    • Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • In a medium bowl, mix vegetables and cheese.
    • Spoon 1/4 cup vegetable and cheese mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up tightly.
    • Place Taquitos on a baking sheet and brush lightly with oil.
    • Bake until crispy, about 7 to 10 minutes.
    • While Taquitos are baking, mix fresh salsa with avocado. Spoon salsa mixture over each serving of Taquitos.
      Serves: 4; 1 cup of fruits and vegetables per person

      Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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