Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
Theresa Ruddy began working in the Johns Hopkins PICU in April of 2012. As a nurse practitioner, she manages the day-to-day care of patients, which includes handling admissions and discharges, diagnosing, calling for consults, writing orders, making a plan of care, and enacting that plan of care. She also performs diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Communication and education are also big parts of her job. Because she works with clinicians at all levels, including fellows, residents, attendings, nurses, and specialists, it is important that everyone agree to the treatment plan. Therefore, she must be able to communicate the reasons behind the plan and formulate backup plans. She also needs to be able to update patients and families.
In addition to her clinical duties, Ms. Ruddy spends a third of her time as the nurse practitioner coordinator for the Pediatric Neurocritical Care Program. This program, co-directed by Dr. Courtney Robertson and Dr. Sujatha Kannan, is divided into four categories: clinical management, education, research, and quality. As part of the clinical management focus, Ms. Ruddy has she worked with neurosurgeons, general surgeons, PICU attendings, and nurses to develop a traumatic brain injury protocol that will allow standardization of care. Now they are working on the education component for the staff. They are also tracking blood transfusion rates with the trauma team to ensure that transfusions are used only when needed. In the area of quality research, Ms. Ruddy is studying the use of ultrafast MRI, which requires only 3–4 minutes, eliminating or reducing the need for children to be sedated. Use of ultrafast MRI also reduces a child’s exposure to radiation from computed tomography (CT) scans.
Ms. Ruddy is working toward earning additional procedural certifications, continuing to improve as a preceptor, and doing more research, particularly in bereavement. Because her work is stressful and intense, she finds work-life balance by reading, watching movies, playing sports, and spending time with friends and family.
Ms. Ruddy received her BSN at Catholic University and later attended the University of Maryland, where she earned her masters of science in nursing for pediatric nurse practitioners with a focus in acute and tertiary care. She is certified through the Pediatric Nursing Certification Board (PNCB).