Sarah Matney began her journey at Connecticut Children’s as a bedside nurse in the Hematology/Oncology unit. Twenty-three years and a range of nursing roles later, she leads the nursing department as Chief Nursing Officer, representing the largest workforce in the health system.
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Name: Sarah Matney, MSOL, BSN, RN, CPON, CENP
Role: SVP Clinical Services & Chief Nursing Officer
Time at Connecticut Children’s: 23 years
Connecticut Children’s Unique Advantages
What are the advantages of working in Connecticut’s only health system dedicated to children?
Being a nurse at Connecticut Children’s means not only do we get to help children become healthier, but we get to help them in every aspect of their life. We have a lot of fun with kids and we try to instill play in what we do so that things aren’t so scary. You never want to have to recommend someone go to a children’s hospital, but when they have to come here, you want to be a place that they love coming to.
Working With Kids
What’s the best part of the job for you?
Being able to take our mission to heart to take care for our patients and families—and doing so with people that I absolutely love. I never dreamt that I would get to be here for 23 years and I’m so thrilled that I’ve worked with so many amazing nurses. Nurses that mentored me are still here. Nurses that precepted me are still here. I love being a nurse at Connecticut Children’s and I love getting to represent them.
What’s different about Connecticut Children’s?
We are doing things that we never dreamt possible. I didn’t even learn some of the things that we’re doing now in nursing school. The other day I watched a fetal surgery case and my mind was blown. It’s amazing what we’re doing now for patients and their families that weren’t even the radar 20 years ago.
What advice would you give a nurse considering a move to pediatrics?
If you’ve ever considered pediatric nursing for a moment, do it. Do it right away! Whether this is your first nursing job or you’ve been in nursing for many years, you get to take those skills and hone them to the next level. You get to meet the needs of patients and families through the whole continuum of care. It might be in our ambulatory setting or it might be in our most critical ICUs, but you’ll have an opportunity to expand your knowledge in all ways.
Nursing at Connecticut Children's
What’s special about nursing at Connecticut Children’s?
Nurses are the core of what we really do here. They’re definitely our largest workforce and I love having the honor to represent them. Our nurses are able to step in and have collaborative relationships with the other care providers, respiratory therapists, physicians, social workers, so that we can care for the child as a whole.
How does Connecticut Children’s support nurses?
Our leadership team is really committed to making sure that we listen and hear from our nurses. We do that through annual surveys. But we also do that through spending time with nurses on our units, whether that be at their huddles, their staff meetings, or even shadowing on their units. We know we get a lot of things right, but we always want to be better tomorrow than we were today.
Connecticut Children’s Culture
How would you describe the culture?
We have a One Team culture. That means I care if you succeed, you care if I succeed, and we’re all in this together. During a crisis or an emergency, you’ll see every discipline come to the bedside and help until that problem is resolved or we get that patient settled. It’s the most amazing thing to watch. We’re building a culture that’s more diverse in our thoughts and actions every day. And we’re committed to a culture of kindness. But kind isn’t nice. Kind is doing the right thing and doing it in the right way. And sometimes we get it right and sometimes we learn opportunities that we need to do it better.
How does Connecticut Children’s support your career growth?
I’ve had so many opportunities to learn and grow. As they’ve invested in me, I’ve invested in myself in the academic setting, in in-services and classes, and through mentorship. We have some amazing preceptors that take the time to invest in the next generation.