Gunderson Pediatric Specialties Clinic gets underwater makeover

Local News

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – The doctor may be a little less intimidating for kids. First News at Nine’s Haley Spitler takes us inside a Pediatric Specialties Clinic that aims to transport children who may be under the weather to under the sea.

Hospitals can be intimidating to adults and even more so, children. Now kids coming to Gundersen’s Pediatric Specialties floor will be greeted with a new underwater surprise.

Mindy Ragner, RN and Gundersen Pediatric Specialties Clinical Manager said, “Creating the environment that gives them other things to focus on, things to distract them. So, our waiting room has a fun coral wall with some seating on the wall. A little cave for those kiddos that feel they need to get away from the bigger picture a little bit. There’s a photo op wall out there and there’s a digital play on the wall.”

The underwater makeover continues into the floor’s exam room. Planning has been underway to take patients under the sea for two years. Constructions started earlier this year. Kids helped choose the theme and color scheme.

Dr. Victor Uko, Gundersen Pediatric Specialties Section Chair said, “Walking into a place to see healthcare providers with all the anxieties that come with going to the doctor is extremely important to create an environment that kids feel comfortable in.”

Pediatric specialties add that lifting patients’ spirits is a part of the healing process. Doctor Victor Uko, a neuro gastrologist and father, says the new theme benefits parents as much as their children.

Uko said, “Parents would give anything to keep their kids healthy, to keep their kids best care possible, and knowing that your child is cared for, thought about, and the environment is designed to meet your child’s needs, I think that’s any parent’s wish.”

The floor sees a range of severity of cases and covers a wide variety of specialties. Including cardiology, asthma, and diabetes. The Clinic’s Manager RN Mindy Ragner, adds it isn’t just La Crosse children who will benefit from the changes.

“We’ve had patients from as far as Michigan and the Dakotas. Generally speaking a good two or three hours for patients to travel one way to be seen here is not very uncommon.”

Donations from the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and the community made the makeover possible.

In La Crosse, Hayley Spitler, First News at Nine.

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