WakeMed welcomes Dr. Andrew Jakubowicz as the new medical director of WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department. Below, we chatted with Dr. J about this new leadership role and the things he hopes to accomplish.
How has being an emergency department physician prepared you for this new leadership role?
As an emergency room physician I lead a team of nurses, advanced practice providers, emergency department techs, child life specialists, and respiratory therapists to take care of any patient that walks through our door.
It’s a dynamic environment that requires the team to be flexible, motivated, and communicate effectively. Being an emergency physician has taught me to coordinate individuals to work together towards a common goal. That goal, to provide excellent care to our patients, is the same whether you’re behind a desk or in front of a patient.
How will your new role as the medical director of WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department be different?
I am currently the assistant medical director and have had the opportunity to work under the current director, Dr. Amy Griffin, for the past two years. Amy is a fantastic director, and it’s been impressive to see her work. She’s great at what she does and has done a stellar job with the department. I couldn’t have asked for a better mentor.
Managing a children’s emergency department is no small task.
As the assistant director, I was also able to take part in the massive undertakings that make the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department function.
What do you hope to accomplish in your new role as medical director?
Medicine is always changing. At WakeMed Children’s we constantly strive to improve our patients’ care. We have lots of ideas for the future.
Currently, we are developing care plans for patients with chronic illness such as asthma, sickle cell, and cancer so these patients get their care started from the moment they enter our doors. By treating these patients right away, we are hoping to avoid or shorten their hospital stay.
We are also part of a national collaborative to improve care for newborns (ages 0-2 months).
With the success of immunizations, the infectious landscape has changed dramatically over the past 20 years.
Our goal in this collaborative has been to develop a protocol to effectively diagnoses and treat infants with fevers in a way that minimizes unnecessary interventions.
WakeMed also has a strong presence in the community.
As the largest pediatric emergency department in the Triangle (and one of the largest in NC), we have an obligation to promote public health and safety.
I think we do an excellent job through social media, advertising, and community outreach programs. I hope to continue that direction as well as explore areas where we can expand ways to get information to our patients.
Also, I hope to improve the patient experience in the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department. We have an excellent staff, and we provide great care to our patients already. I only hope to explore areas where FAMILIES feel we can improve and make the necessary changes.
What can parents expect when they bring their kids to our emergency department (versus others)?
Our Children’s Emergency Department provides families with pediatric-centered care. Everything we do is designed to care for children.
This is apparent the moment you walk in our door. From the toys, to the cartoons on TV, to friendly staff, we all work very hard to focus on the child and their experience.
Sure, other EDs are equipped to take care of pediatric patients. But the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department has the expertise and experience all in an environment where kids can be most comfortable.
Our staff is specially trained to recognize and treat pediatric illnesses. They are masters of the science but also know how to deal with sick children and put them at ease. This can make a world of difference to any child or caretaker.
What is the advantage of having a dedicated children’s emergency department?
The major advantages are the facilities and the staff. The department itself doesn’t look like your typical hospital. It looks fun. We have toys, games, and cartoons just to name a few.
The staff is by far the biggest advantage. We are one of the highest volume pediatric emergency departments in the state. Our staff brings a tremendous amount of experience to the care of our patients.
This experience translates from some of the littlest thing – such as how best to give a patient a medicine, to some of our most difficult situations – such as taking care of critically ill patients.
How has the medical community at WakeMed Children’s Hospital evolved?
WakeMed Children’s keeps growing! As the community continues to grow, we continue to respond to that demand. We have added multiple sub-specialty services, most recently Pediatric Cardiology and a new group of pediatric radiologists. We have also increased our behavioral health services to meet the increasing demand for mental health services in Wake County.
What legacy do you hope to leave?
I want to see WakeMed Children’s Hospital grow as the community continues to expand. The population of Wake County is increasing every day. As a hospital, we need to meet those demands and anticipate new ones.
In the future I hope the WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department grows as the entire Children’s Hospital grows. I’d also like to see us expand our service to outlying communities outside of Raleigh – providing patients with more convenient access to care without compromising quality.*
*In 2018, WakeMed will be expanding services at our Apex Healthplex to include multiple pediatric specialty practices and emergency care for kids.
About Andrew Jakubowicz, MD
Dr. Jakubowicz (“Dr. J”) is an emergency medicine physician with Wake Emergency Physicians, PA (WEPPA). Since 2013, Dr. J has been practicing out of WakeMed Children’s Emergency Department and is board certified in emergency medicine as well as general pediatrics. Learn more about the emergency services offered to children at WakeMed.