This holiday season, we’re highlighting team members who ensure patients and their caregivers can always count on Arkansas Children’s high standards of care regardless of the day, night or holiday.

For Brandon Glenn, BSIS, RT (R)(CT), computed tomography (CT) technologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital (ACH), the first notable difference between working on Thanksgiving Day is the start time of his shift. Glenn typically works 1:30 – 10:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, but staffing ACH on Thanksgiving means his shift starts at 6:30 a.m. and lengthens to 12 hours.

As the only pediatric Level 1 Trauma Center in the state, ACH is open all day, every day, in case a child needs emergency care.

“A level one trauma can come in at any moment,” Glenn said. When he arrived at 6:30 on Thanksgiving morning, he learned two patients arrived overnight and were being prepared for CT scans.

Computer Tomography Scanning

X-ray scans are often the first stage of diagnostic imaging because they quickly provide information about significant issues, like broken or fractured bones. The computed tomography scanning that Glenn provides generates images with more details. Special dyes called contrast agents, often taken orally or through IV, are sometimes used to enhance clarity. A radiologist interpreting the CT scan can identify more issues related to damaged organs, blood clots or thin bone fractures missed by an X-ray exam.

Glenn spent four years providing X-ray imaging before completing the training to become a CT technologist. His certifications qualify him to scan adults or children, but he said, “I find it more rewarding to do [CT scanning] at a pediatric facility.”

The unique challenges of scanning pediatric patients include getting a child – especially the youngest children – to be still long enough for the machines to capture an image. In addition to body wraps and guard rails on the scanning table, CT technologists like Glenn use age-appropriate strategies for calming patients. A small drop of sugar water often helps the youngest patients stay still for the scan, which can last one to five seconds. For older children, parents or other Arkansas Children’s team members can be in the room holding a tablet and playing videos of Mickey Mouse or Bluey while the patient is scanned.

Thanksgiving Day

After scanning the two patients who’d arrived overnight, Glenn took advantage of one of the perks of being at ACH on a holiday: free meals in the cafeteria. Food and family are centerpieces of the Thanksgiving holiday for many in the U.S. The Capitol Café on the second floor at ACH gives team members working during the holiday a place to congregate around a hot meal.

“It’s appreciated that [the cafeteria] does that for free on holidays because we are away from our families,” Glenn said.

The remainder of Thanksgiving Day is relatively quiet for the CT technologist. During a typical 8-hour shift, Glenn scans 10 patients on average. Even though his holiday shift is four hours longer, only five patients need scans. Glenn spends the time between cleaning, stocking and organizing supplies, removing holiday decorations and talking with fellow team members in the emergency room.

For five young patients, Thanksgiving included a trip to the CT scanning room at ACH. Team members like Brandon Glenn ensured they received the nationally-ranked care Arkansas Children’s is known for providing every day of the year.

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