Welcome to Defender Profiles. Here you’ll learn about one of our amazing defenders of childhood – everything from what they do for CHOC to what they do for fun – and gain insight into a different department in our health system.
Tinoosh Eftekharian was born in Iran and came to the United States as an exchange student at age 11. She was meant to stay for one year, but before she could return home, the Iranian Revolution broke out, and Tinoosh had to remain in the U.S. for another six years before her family could join her. Today, Tinoosh lives in Anaheim Hills near her parents and manages several of CHOC’s specialty clinics, including pulmonary, hematology, metabolic, infectious disease and many more.
How long have you worked at CHOC?
I’ve been with CHOC for 19 years. When I was first offered a job here, I told them I could only commit to six months, but I quickly fell in love with the organization, the mission, the vision and the culture. I’ve been here ever since. I started with the pulmonary clinic and my role has expanded and grown to include the specialty clinics at CHOC West.
Can you describe your current role?
I am accountable for the overall operations of the clinics: ensuring the delivery of care, service and program development reflects and supports patient- and family-centered care; developing initiatives, systems and programs in alignment with our strategic goals; and helping move us toward our vision. My top three priorities are to ensure CHOC is the best place to receive care, the best place to work for our associates and the best place to practice for our providers. I think this is what allows us to do what we need to do in order to be great defenders of childhood.
Why did you decide to go into pediatrics?
I have always been passionate about helping others, particularly those who are the most vulnerable. Even as a child, I felt a calling to help those with disabilities, challenges and difficulties. Nursing was a great fit for me, and it was something that I felt I could utilize no matter where in the world I was. I have been a nurse for 36 years and obtained my master’s degree while at CHOC. I feel like I have been able to help others during their most challenging times, from the patients and families to our associates and providers. I would encourage any young person who is drawn to helping others to go into nursing.
What do you love about your current role?
As a nurse, I loved that I took care of patients directly; as a manager, I feel like I can make a bigger impact through the nurses and others on my team. I can make a difference with a larger population through guiding, supporting and educating my team.
What do you love about working at CHOC?
CHOC is the best organization I have worked for – everyone here is the cream of the crop. If I had a family member who needed care, I would have a hard time deciding which physician to refer them to; they are all that amazing! I have high standards and high expectations – my team and the physicians know this about me, and I feel we are all aligned on setting the highest of standards and meeting them. CHOC’s mission and vision is what I live and breathe every day because I believe in it. The organization’s culture truly demonstrates the call for excellence. I can’t imagine working anywhere else.
How has your role changed due to the pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic brought on a lot of challenges, both personally and professionally. I felt pulled in many directions – being there for my team, thinking of my family and their safety and thinking of the safety of everyone else around me, including the providers. It has been a great test of resilience for all of us, and it brought everyone closer together. I truly believe we all did a phenomenal job here at CHOC. I have always been proud to be a nurse, but seeing how healthcare workers have been recognized and appreciated throughout the pandemic has been a heartwarming experience and brought me a sense of comfort.
How has CHOC changed and progressed in your time here?
When I joined CHOC, it was a good community hospital. And now we have become a great healthcare enterprise with expanding physical footprints and incredible affiliations with other healthcare partners. It’s been amazing to see that growth. I am honored to share with friends and family that I work at CHOC.
What do you wish associates knew about our specialty clinics?
Our specialty clinics are licensed under the hospital, so they are held to a higher standard of practice and care. Many of the specialty clinics take care of patients from childhood through adolescence. Our goal is to help manage patients’ disease and decrease readmissions, and we work in partnership with other CHOC healthcare professionals – nurses, dieticians, occupational therapists and patient service representatives, to name only a few. One recent accomplishment I’m particularly proud of is helping develop our NICU Bridge Program, which bridges the gap for complex discharge patients from the NICU to regular care outside the hospital. Prior to this clinic, we used to keep babies in the NICU longer to ensure success, but now we can discharge them sooner and monitor them more regularly until they’re ready to have their care transferred to their pediatrician. Data shows that the Bridge Program is decreasing rehospitalization and length of stay rates in NICU.
Do you have any favorite moments or stories about working at CHOC that you can share?
I have had so many great moments here – even just a simple phone call from a parent to say thank you, or reading comments from a family that had an amazing experience. These mission moments are the things that make me feel like this is all worth it, like I’m doing what I should be doing. Hearing positive feedback from associates, providers and regulatory agencies is definitely a highlight. I also participated in the last Magnet conference, and it was an incredible experience.
What do you feel makes someone a great defender of childhood?
At the end of the day, a defender of childhood is someone who focuses on the children and their families and thinks about how we can make this experience better and more positive for them. We must be focused on patient- and family-centered care, because we are tasked with the privilege of caring for families during the most challenging time of their lives.
What are your hobbies and interests outside of work?
I have been married for 32 years and am a proud mom of three – a daughter who earned her MBA and works at UCI; a son soon graduating from UCI as a biomedical engineer; and a daughter who is in medical school at Western University of Health and Sciences in Pomona and hopes to someday work at CHOC. My world revolves around CHOC and my family. I also love the beach, cooking and traveling! My family and I have traveled to many different places together; some of our favorite destinations have been Santorini, Spain, the South of France and Italy. My parents are local as well, and I enjoy spending time with them. I’m so grateful for their vision for me all those years ago, when they sent me to America as an exchange student. They have made me who I am today.