Q&A with Nurse Operations Manager, Jenn Thelen

May marks the 30th anniversary of National Trauma Awareness Month. The 2018 campaign’s theme is “Injury is No Accident” and the month is meant as a way to spread awareness of and help prevent trauma and injury.

Part of the trauma team in the Children’s Emergency Department and Trauma Center at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Jenn Thelen, BSN, RN, CEN, CPEN, nursing operations manager, answers some questions for Inspire both personal and about her work.

Q. Where did you grow up?
A. I grew up in Fairfax, Virginia.

Q. Where did you go to nursing school?
A. I went Virginia Commonwealth University/Medical college of VA for my nursing degree.

Q. What are your hobbies? What do you like to do when you aren’t in the hospital taking care of kids?
A. I enjoy watching my three children play sports. I also enjoy running, going to the beach, and camping. 

Q. What would your dream vacation be?
A. Being able to tour all the small towns in Germany.

Q. Out of all of the places you’ve been, where would you go back to?
A. Ireland

Q. If you could meet anyone who would it be?
A. My husband’s grandmother. From the stories I have heard, she was not only an amazing woman, but the glue that held the Thelen family together. 

Q. How long have you worked at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer?
A. It will be 12 years in July. 

Q. Why did you choose nursing as a profession?
A. I had the passion to take care of people, to serve, and to work in a fast paced, high- intensity environment. 

Q. When a trauma call comes in, what are the first steps you and/or your team take to prepare?
A. We send out an electronic page as well as an overhead page to the trauma team. All of the trauma team then sets up the necessary equipment in the trauma bay based on the patient care report. Roles are delegated, proposed plan of care discussed and the team awaits the patient. 

Q. What do you enjoy the most about working at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer?
A. The Emergency Department TEAM!!  I am blessed and humbled every day that I get to work with such an amazing group of people.

Q. Has there been a patient who has made an impact on your life?
A. Yes, there have been several. There are some families that no longer need our care that I still keep in touch with. It is heartwarming to see these children grow and blossom outside of the hospital environment. There are other patients that did not have a great outcome. And, certain ones in particular that I hold close in my heart. I can still see some of those patients’ faces and some families imprinted in my mind. I try to always remember what is truly important and how precious life is. 

Q. What is something that most patients and families wouldn’t know about you when they meet you?
A. I played four years of Division I collegiate soccer including playing in the NCAA Division I soccer finals my freshman year. 

Q. What information would you give your own friends or family members about the difference between a trauma center and an emergency department?   
A. While many facilities can care for basic injuries, those requiring serious, complex, medical care due to a trauma are best served in a trauma center.  A trauma center has all necessary personnel, training, experience, and equipment immediately available to the patient.