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news item News Thursday, April 11, 2019 Thursday, April 11, 2019 4:11 PM - Thursday, April 11, 2019 4:11 PM

Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority awards Shriners nurse for her commitment to patient safety

Shriners Hospitals for Children — Erie nurse anesthetist, Stephanie LaJohn, CRNA, was chosen by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority as one of the 2019 I AM Patient Safety winners. The annual statewide contest is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate health care staff for their commitment to patient safety.

LaJohn, nurse anesthetist at the Erie Shriners Medical Center, was selected as the winner in the Individual Impact – Going Above and Beyond category. She was chosen because of her dedication to and talent for making children calm before surgery, and ensuring both their safety and comfort during anesthesia. LaJohn puts even the most anxious children at ease before surgery, reassuring them that she will be with them throughout the surgery and calmly explaining what is going to happen in terms they can understand.

Deb Balogh, patient safety officer at the Erie Shriners Medical Center, said, “Stephanie even turns anesthesia into a fun game. She lets kids choose from 20 different flavors for the 'anesthesia' and lines their breathing mask with lip-gloss of the flavor they choose, so they smell it rather than the anesthetic gases.” Debbie added, “She also gets them excited about helping her ‘blow up her balloon' before surgery, and as they watch the balloon grow on the anesthesia machine, she often holds them in her lap and sings them softly to sleep.”

The Erie Shriners Medical Center makes patient safety a top priority, and all staff members work diligently to protect patients from errors, injuries, accidents and infections. Stephanie demonstrates how much she loves her patients in her dedication to ensuring their safety, comfort and peace of mind.