I’d like to give a big shout out to Carla Andalis, Child Life Therapist. To begin with, Carla has unique child development expertise, an ability to create change, and amazing researching skills. She is also a whiz at relating to children in an age appropriate manner. Carla has made a tremendous impact in our department and has definitely changed the UC Davis pediatric patient experience. She is not only skilled in working with our pediatric population, she continues to demonstrate a unique and genuine level of compassion for all her patients. Carla has solidified her important role in pediatric imaging and is also intimately involved in the scheduling and performance of all pediatric imaging exams (CT, MRI, Fluoroscopy, PET/NM).
MRI Coaching and Cinemavision Goggles
Carla was integral in raising our pediatric imaging bar, as well as in establishing a new standard for radiology imaging. Our young patients now have a primary point of contact (Carla) prior to undergoing the imaging test. Before each procedure, Carla answers questions, provides education, and demonstrates what is about to happen via pictures, toy models and videos to both parents and patients. She is actively involved in a new process in which we attempt an MRI with coaching, in lieu of general anesthesia. Carla was the point person in securing Cinemavision goggles for our MRI. She has also added decals and toys to the department, improving the patient experience. All these components combined have reduced MRI exams performed under general anesthesia by over 17% for pediatric patients 6-11 years of age. We now successfully perform almost 50% more MRI’s without anesthesia compared to last year for the same age range.
I can honestly say that since Carla has become a caregiver in our radiology department, the level of care, safety and experience for our pediatric patients has greatly improved and the way we perform MRIs has been revolutionized.
Carla is the recipient of many prior honors and awards. She received the Excellence Award from the nursing executive director for her work with MRI goggles and a Thank You Award from the radiology director. Carla continues to receive many compliments from her colleagues and patients as a result of her teamwork, patience, calm demeanor and skill with children. She has also worked on nationally recognized research projects like Baby Signs (through the National Institute for Health and Human Services) in which she documented the value of teaching non-verbal communication strategies to infants prior to their acquisition of formal verbal language. Carla has helped develop nationally-recognized education and training programs for both UC Davis and Syracuse University, which were subsequently delivered to both undergraduate and graduate students.
A Skilled Team Player
Because of Carla, every child who is scheduled for an radiological imaging exam now has a complete pediatric-friendly and patient-centric experience. Carla makes sure patients and their parents are well-informed prior to every examination. In addition, the children now have the opportunity to undergo MRIs with coaching instead of general anesthesia. During an exam, Carla was also integral in creating access to movies using MR Cinemavision goggles. With Carla’s involvement, we have seen an increase in successfully coached MRI (without anesthesia) by about 50% when compared to the previous year. Carla is also actively involved in assisting pediatric patients in other areas of radiology, including fluoroscopy, PET, NM and CT.
-submitted by David Del Pizzo