This winter marks Beth Gansel’s 23rd anniversary with Children’s, a career that began when she was a staff nurse on the post-surgical floor at Egleston. Now, Beth is the Administrative Resource Nurse at the five centers that comprise Children’s Urgent Care. Her compassion makes her an invaluable mentor to other Children’s nurses, and her warm demeanor has earned her a reputation as someone who can calm frightened children. In any given week, Beth will take on both of these roles.
8:00 a.m. It’s Tuesday morning, and Beth is sleeping in after a late night at the Hudson Bridge Urgent Care Center. Every Monday, she works the floor at one of the centers. This keeps Beth closely tied to each location’s staff and standards, and it hones her practical nursing skills. “On the surgical floor, I could tell you how to take care of post-surgical wounds,” Beth explains. “But now, I can tell you what to do with a cut or how to treat fever, too.” Children’s Urgent Care Centers accept their last patient at 9 p.m., but the staff stays until everyone has been seen. “On a good night, we’re done about 10:30 p.m.,” Beth says. A bad night? Beth laughs but doesn’t answer.
9:00 a.m. Beth sets her schedule at least a week in advance because she has a lot of ground to cover visiting the centers, which span from north of Alpharetta to as far south as Stockbridge. As she commutes to The Park, her home base, Beth catches up on the news. “I love to listen to NPR until it gets too sad,” she says. Then, she turns on Pandora—it’s her favorite.
10:00 a.m. Her first meeting of the day (she prefers face-to-face interactions) is with an urgent care clinic manager. “I divide my day by meetings,” Beth explains. “And then I do projects in between meetings.” She’s unfazed by her bursting-at-the-seams agenda.
11:45 a.m. Beth joins a community liaison colleague to represent Children’s at a Henry County health fair. They’re educating people about the extension of Children’s that exists in their community. “People say, ‘I didn’t know this was here! I was taking my child to an adult facility,’” Beth says. It’s important for parents to understand why pediatric specialized centers make a difference in treatment. “We’re familiar with pediatric vital signs and pediatric emergencies. We do extra things like making shots not hurt,” she says. The centers also have coloring sheets and popsicles—not to mention pediatricians. For older children, it’s more about conversation than crayons. “Once they get into school, they like to be talked to as a person. You ask them questions, not their mother,” Beth says. Teenagers value information about their bodies, she explains. “We tell them, ‘This is your life and your health.’”
1:00 p.m. Back at the office, Beth grabs soup and salad from Fountainside at The Park. If the weather is nice, she sits outside by the community garden near the Strong4Life room. There’s no lingering over lunch, though; once she’s soaked up a few restorative rays from the sun, she’s back to work.
1:45 p.m. Beth meets with her supervisor, Heather Miller, to talk about the new urgent care scheduling option, Clockwise.MD. It’s a time-saving application that allows parents to book a check-in time at the Urgent Care Centers on choa.org or the mobile app. “It’s really neat,” Beth says. “They get a text when their place in line is ready.” She’s been part of the rollout and sees its effects firsthand when she’s working at the centers on Mondays.
3:00 p.m. Winter is the busy season for urgent care and it follows football fracture season, when centers treat many twisted ankles and broken clavicles. Beth shifts into project management mode to ensure centers are stocked with supplies for cold-weather afflictions. “We’re going to see lots of patients with cough and cold, as well as strep throat,” she says. Asthma patients are also affected by the change of season, and Beth must anticipate clinic-to-hospital transfers for some of these acute cases. She’s also working on an initiative to stock bulk medications to streamline patient treatment. This will be essential when winter weekends average 140-150 patients.
4:50 p.m. Beth begins her drive home. Tonight, her husband of 25 years, a kindergarten paraprofessional, is making chicken carbonara. “He’s a wonderful cook!” Beth raves. It’s not just dinner for two—Beth’s 94-year-old mother lives with them and their two dogs, a Goldendoodle and a Bichon-poo.
7:00 p.m. After dinner, Beth takes a 30-minute walk. “That regular walk has meant the world to me,” Beth says. “It gives me time to center myself. I’ve done a lot of worrying in the past, and now I’m working on enjoying the moment.” It’s a simple, yet effective, remedy for the nurse on whose shoulders rest the complexities of five clinics and a whole host of projects. But Beth is energized by the constant variety of her job. “It’s been a great career for my entire adult life,” Beth says. “Urgent care really shows an excellent face of nursing to the world, and I’m proud to be
a part of the Children’s family.”