Being a kid is exciting. There are endless things to climb, build, jump off and splash through. There are new things to try around every corner and adventures await each new day. But growing up brings inevitable bumps and bruises along with colds, broken bones, allergies, aches and pains. This is where Dr. Tiffany Blankenship can help. A new member of the Harbor Regional Health pediatrics team, she’s right there to support the health of your child from day one.
Blankenship was born in Guam, lived in the Philippines until the age of five, and recently joined the HRH team after moving from Houston, Texas. She attended medical school in El Paso and completed her pediatric residency in Houston. This global perspective on life is showcased in her love of food. “I love baking and taking photos of food to put in my foodie Instagram,” she shares. “I love exploring different cultures and cities through the food scene. Some of my photos were even showcased in some restaurants’ Instagram’s in Houston.”
The move west was to follow her heart. “While I was in residency, I met a boy and he is currently in the Navy,” explains Blankenship. “He was stationed on Whidbey Island October 2020. To close the distance between us, I decided to move to Washington once I graduated from residency. I found Harbor Regional Health through some work with recruiters and Aberdeen is definitely much closer than Houston, so I applied for the job. Since I started in October 2021, I have been surprised by the amount of rain in Aberdeen, gotten used to the cold, and I’ve grown to love the people I work with. The patient population is so much fun, and I really have a chance to get to know the families I work with. It’s been an amazing experience so far!”
Working with kids has been her goal for a long time. “I chose pediatrics as a specialty because I have always felt that children have a profound resiliency and amazing strength. You can see the change right away once you’ve treated them or become inspired by how they push through to either relearn how to walk after an accident or deal with their chronic disease. I know it is certainly helped me put some perspective in my own life.”
More than just Washington’s rain and cold, moving to a smaller facility took a little getting used to. “Coming from the Texas Medical Center, starting at a rural hospital setting was definitely an eye opener,” Blankenship admits. “I was accustomed to having the ability to just text questions to our specialty consult services or call a social worker or case manager for any questions about home health needs. However, in a rural setting I have definitely had to get creative in providing the same resources to my patients.”
But the change is a welcome one. “It has been an adventure learning how to obtain this information and managing some things myself without the direct accessibility of a fellow pediatrics specialist. It is a steep learning curve, but I love the challenge and it has been a lot of fun to become more of a jack-of-all-trades kind of physician. During my time at Harbor Regional Health, I hope to become a more well-rounded physician. Being in a rural setting, it kind of forces us to learn to think outside of the box and do all that we can do for a patient because they may not have the resources to get to that appointment in Seattle to see a specialist right away. By working at Harbor Regional Health, my hope is to gain the knowledge to provide for each patient’s different needs and this in turn will help me become the type of physician I strive to be.”
Blankenship also has some advice to offer, especially to new moms. “During my short time here, I have had the pleasure of seeing a lot of newborn babies,” she says. “Some of the things we get asked about newborns are ‘Is it weird that my baby has hiccups?’ and ‘Why is my baby’s skin peeling?’ These are great questions because not many people know about them.”
“Hiccups are normal and often occur with feeding,” she explains. “They usually go away on their own or with the help of some formula or breast milk. Don’t scare the hiccups away, all this will result in is an unhappy baby.”
“Peeling skin on an infant is normal as well. No matter how much it rains in Aberdeen, the outside environment is a lot drier than the womb, and this causes the baby’s skin to peel. Ways to help are to moisturize the baby’s skin with products such as Aveeno, Aquaphor or baby Dove as well as only bathing the baby once every other day. Avoiding products such as Johnson & Johnson is also a great way to help prevent too much skin peeling. Johnson & Johnson smells great and reminds us of that iconic baby smell, but it actually dries the skin out and makes the peeling worse.”
There’s no rule book to parenting so a caring local care team is vital. Thankfully, with the tireless support of pediatricians like Dr. Blankenship, your family can tackle whatever life throws at you…or your kid does.