All in a Day's Work: Katie Stenseth, RN, Medical Trauma Nurse

  • Article by: NANCY CROTTI , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: February 3, 2010 - 10:06 AM

Katie Stenseth, RN, Medical Trauma Nurse at Gillette Children's Hospital, talks about her job.


Photo: Photo by: Tom Witta,

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Q: What's a typical workday like for you?

There is no typical workday. I work on a medical-surgical floor for trauma, neurology and neurosurgery at Gillette - a hospital that specializes in caring for children with special needs and physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, spina bifida, epilepsy and craniosynostosis (premature closing of a baby's skull). I do a lot of direct and indirect patient care, from assessing an incision to calling a social worker to helping provide families with financial resources.

Q: How does your role fit into the bigger healthcare picture?

I am a patient advocate who provides needed bedside care and comfort to patients and their families. I work closely with other healthcare providers to develop a plan of care and implement that plan. I am also a stepping stone for my patients, several of whom will require multiple hospitalizations throughout their lives to manage their primary diagnoses.

Q: Who do you interact with during the course of the day?

I interact with other RNs, physicians, respiratory therapists, physical and occupational therapists, EEG technicians, dieticians, child life specialists and family members, who know the patient the best. I also interact with volunteers and therapy dogs.

Q: Why did you become a pediatric medical trauma nurse?

I was passionate about children and interested in providing comfort and care. During an internship at Gillette's intensive care unit, I realized that children's healthcare is the right setting for me.

Q: What do you like about your work?

It's challenging and rewarding. I love providing care to patients and their families. The people I work with are just great. Gillette has a great philosophy, culture and family focus.

- By Nancy Crotti

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