When talking with Sherri Maters, MS, RN, NP-C and Pediatric Cardiology Nurse Practitioner at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, you can’t help but feel the positivity radiating from her. Having just recently stepped into her role as the new face of pediatric cardiology at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, Sherri is excited to begin connecting with the community “one family at a time.”Sherri found her love of working with children as a bedside nurse in pediatrics. Later she became the nurse practitioner for an adult pancreatitis clinic at VCU, but her love of children and interest in the heart brought her back to pediatrics. After many years spent caring for children by their bedside, and not getting to see them healthy again during follow up, she says she’s now looking forward to “the privilege and joy of seeing kids out of their hospital gowns and enjoying life.”Already familiar with the wonderful group of practitioners and a strong believer in her colleagues commitment to advancing children’s health, Sherri is glad to stay within the VCU system where she can continue developing those connections. “The doctors here don’t just fix the problem and send the kids home,” she said. “They know these children aren’t cookie cutter cases, so they take the time to monitor, follow up and give them the resources and support they require to, not just live, but thrive.”Treating the cardiac abnormalities of children can be incredibly different from those of adults, bringing on a whole new set of challenges. For some children, these abnormalities are diagnosed before birth, for others the problems aren’t clear until after they’re born. In fact, while some children are diagnosed early, some of them cannot be treated until they are finished growing. Some of the most common heart defects in children include Atrial septal defect (ASD), which refers to a hole in the “wall” (septum) of the heart that separates the two upper chambers (the atria), and Ventricular septal defect (VSD) which refers to the same type of condition in the two lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles).“The hardest part is that these kids haven’t done anything wrong,” said Sherri. “It’s not like we can tell them to eat better, stop smoking or lower their cholesterol. It’s just how they were born, and it’s our job to minimize the impact the disease has on the child’s quality of life.”Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU’s pediatric cardiology team also provides support to children’s families, generously taking as much time as necessary to educate each family and making sure parents leave equipped with all the resources they need to make informed decisions. “Some families feel comforted in 15 minutes,” said Sherri, “while others need 45 minutes to an hour. Whatever concern they may have, the doctors are always available to address their questions and offer support, which provides a great deal of comfort to a patient’s family.”Sherri is incredibly excited to take on this new challenge as the hospital’s community liaison and is looking forward to seeing her role develop over the next few years. “I want to make this position personal,” she said. “There is a big people component here, so it’s important that I increase awareness of the pediatric cardiology program by building meaningful relationships one person at a time.”Please join us in welcoming Sherri to the team by leaving her a comment!And don’t forget to “Love with All Your Heart” by sending an e-Valentine to someone special!