What to Expect at the Children’s Center

WhatToExpectBefore You Arrive

Whether your child is admitted to the hospital for a planned stay or admitted on an urgent basis, there are some things the Children’s Center would like you to know to make your hospital stay manageable. Check out these tips.

A Personal Plan of Care

Our specialized health care team will develop a plan of care with your child’s needs in mind. This plan helps the entire health care team choose the best path to serve your child’s individual needs. You are encouraged to be a part of your child’s care. We will ask you to get involved as you feel comfortable.

Please remember that before we can begin your care, we must first verify your physician’s orders.

Bedside Reports

Part of the plan of care is safe and accurate reporting of information from one shift to the next. The nursing staff performs a “bedside report” at shift changes to ensure that safe and accurate information is given to the oncoming staff.

Staying With Your Child

You may stay with your child 24 hours a day, every day. Please arrange for another responsible adult (18 years or older) to stay with your child if you need to leave. If you have to leave the Children’s Center and would like to call and check on your child’s status, please ask for instructions from your nurse before leaving the hospital. Let us know if your child will be alone for a significant period of time.

No children, other than the patients, may be left unattended.

Leaving the Pediatric Unit

Pediatric patients five years and younger may not leave the Pediatric unit for reasons other than procedures or treatments until the time of discharge. Pediatric patients six years and older may leave the floor for brief periods of time, provided the patient meets the guideline requirements. Ask your nurse for further details.

Your Health Care Team

Members of the health care team will be making hourly rounds to patients. Key members of your team are:


Your physician visits your child every day and answers any questions you may have. You can also rely on your physician to make decisions based upon the team’s reports of your child’s needs. During your child’s stay, your attending physician may consult with other physicians and may order hospital services such as laboratory tests, physical therapy, respiratory care, x-rays, or other tests and medications. These services will only be provided with a doctor’s order.


A nurse will assess your child’s care needs and schedule times to give medication or change your child’s dressing. Depending on your child’s progress, the nurses may decide to change your child’s plan of care. Our nurses will also provide information to you about your child’s illness and ways to care for your child’s medical needs when you go home.

Patient Care Assistants

A patient care assistant will take your child’s vital signs and tend to your child’s personal hygiene needs.

Child Life Specialist

A child life specialist is on staff to provide support for both you and your child. A child life specialist is someone who specializes in child development and children’s reactions to hospitalization. Your child life specialist is available to provide developmentally appropriate explanations for tests and procedures as well as procedural support. Your child life specialist is also here to make sure your child has play opportunities to support his or her development.

Learn more about the Child Life Program

Music Therapists

Music therapy is a research-based profession in which musical interventions are used to address the specific needs of patients. Our music therapy staff uses patient-preferred music and activities to engage patients in a fun and supportive manner. In the Children’s Center, music therapists lead group sessions in the playroom, see patients in their room and are available to assist during medical procedures as needed. Potential music therapy goals include:

  • Developing acceptance and coping skills
  • Encouraging play
  • Enhancing social and communication skills
  • Decreasing fears and anxiety
  • Increasing relaxation
  • Reducing the perception of pain

If you are interested in music therapy during your child’s hospital stay, please speak with your child’s nurse or another member of the health care team to make arrangements.

Additional Health Care Team Members

In addition to key members, your health care team also includes

  • Nurse technicians
  • Respiratory care staff
  • Dietary staff
  • Dieticians
  • Housekeeping staff
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists

Routine Monitoring

Vital Signs

Members of our nursing staff check your child’s “vital signs” or temperature, heart rate, and breathing every four hours. We may check your child’s vital signs more often depending on the physician’s orders. Although we respect your child’s need for rest, we will monitor his/her condition throughout the night. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Weight Check

You child’s condition may require a daily weight check. This is done between midnight and 6 a.m. along with vital signs.

Physician’s Rounds & Lab Work

Physician’s Rounds are in the morning and give you an opportunity to discuss any changes with the physician. Lab work is routinely ordered in the morning and usually needs to be completed early so results will be back in time for physicians’ morning rounds.


Several different volunteers groups help entertain patients through a variety of activities. This fosters a friendly environment at the Children’s Center. Although the needs of every child differ with age and how well they are feeling, we hope your child will have the opportunity to benefit from these resources.

Volunteers provide activities such as art, reading, video game systems, and normal play opportunities at the bedside and in the playroom. We also have volunteers who bring their licensed therapy animals to the Children’s Center through the Animal Therapy Program.

For additional information on accessing or volunteering within any of the above programs, please feel free to contact our volunteer services department at 850-431-5331.

Child Life Program
We offer the only certified child life specialist in the Big Bend region. Read More >
Patient Stories
Read about our patients' experiences at the Tallahassee Memorial Children's Center. Read More >