By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly
Wendy Paul always knew that she wanted to work in a children’s hospital. “When I walk in, there is something about a children’s hospital that’s just different from an adult hospital,” she said.
As a registered pharmacist, Paul has been working at Seattle Children’s Hospital for 22 years. For her dedication and contributions to the Seattle Children’s Major Institution Master Plan expansion project, Paul is being awarded a Pioneers in Healthcare award by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation.
“I was very honored to be considered and surprised to be selected for the award,” Paul said.
As a fourth generation Japanese American from Eugene, Ore., she graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in pharmacy. She earned her graduate degree from the UW Pharmacy School.
Over the years, she has held different positions at the hospital. She worked as a lead pharmacist in the intensive care unit (ICU), worked in the operating room (OR) pharmacy, and even helped design some of the pharmaceutical processes and the pharmacy satellite.
Paul is now a clinical informatics pharmacist, helping to maintain the pharmacy’s computer system at the hospital.
“We make sure the dosage is appropriate for pediatrics,” she explained.
Paul has learned a lot about the different innovative technologies that the hospital has been adapting to over the years.
“The satellite provides medications to the OR staff in a timely manner, and it provides pharmaceutical services to the OR and surgeons in real time,” she said.
When asked about which work experience she valued most, she answered, “All of my experiences have been challenging and rewarding and given me the opportunity to grow professionally and personally.”
“I liked all of them in different ways. Having to design the pharmacy satellite was the highlight. It was something different and working in an area that was really outside of the traditional roles of pharmacy,” she added.
Aside from her actual job, Paul’s involvement with the Citizens Advisory Committee, which is voluntary and was originally unfamiliar to her, is another passion of hers.
Desiree Leigh, Director of Regional Government Affairs and Community Relations at Seattle Children’s Hospital, nominated Paul for recognition of her contribution to the master plan for the hospital.
The hospital plans to build on the existing property and increase the number of beds to 600. The need has been increasing constantly over the last few years.
“The master plan is critical to the hospital’s long-term facility development. Without her dedication and collegial style working with fellow advisory committee members who live in the nearby neighborhood, the hospital would not have accomplished a major strategic project,” Leigh said of Paul’s work.
Paul was the only employee that was not in a managerial position to help plan the growth of the hospital for the next 20 years. Other members of the committee included participants from the Laurelhurst and other Seattle neighborhoods.
Ruth Benfield, vice president of Facilities and Psycho-Social Services at Children’s, felt that Paul was able to bring real world clinical experience to the committee so that others could hear from someone who actually worked in the hospital. Paul was able to describe what it was like to interact directly with patients and help convey what the hospital’s needs were and what a difference the development would make.
“She dedicated hours and hours of time for this, not only for us at Children’s but for making a difference for the children of the Northwest,” Benfield said.
Leigh said that Paul had always called to check in while she was out on vacation every year. And one time, Leigh remembers distinctly when Paul even drove to another town to find a phone just to call into the hospital. “It’s been a great experience. Completely out of my comfort zone, but it’s been very rewarding.
I believe in Children’s mission in taking care of children and providing the best health care possible” Paul said.
With Paul’s commitment to serving the children of the Northwest, she has positively influenced the local community.
“People sometimes forget that there are a lot of unsung heroes who aren’t used to being praised and lauded with awards because they have a remarkable amount of dedication just doing something critically important for the community in the long term,” Leigh said.
Besides work and volunteering for the hospital, Paul enjoys spending time with her husband who is also a pharmacist, and her two sons, Zachary and Austin. She likes outdoor activities such as skiing and sailing.
She plans to participate in the Seattle Half Marathon this year.
“An ordinary person can do extraordinary things for a civic cause, and they’re compelled by the greater good,” Leigh said. ♦
Wendy Paul is being honored by the Northwest Asian Weekly Foundation as a Pioneer in Healthcare on Oct. 1. Meet her at our banquet on Oct. 1. For more information, visit pioneers.nwasianweeklyfoundation.org.
Nina Huang can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.