I get that question a lot…. “Why do you want to be a pediatric nurse?!?!” When the question is asked, it’s usually accompanied by a scrunching up of the face, and a look of horror as the person asking it envisions deathly ill children dying left and right on their watch.
To me, it’s an easy question to answer: Taking care of children is what I do best.
This week, I am finishing up my preceptorship at a local area Children’s Hospital. It has been such a fantastic experience. I have enjoyed every second that I have spent on the floor, and I can say that it has definitely cemented my beliefs that this is what I want to do. That this is where my passion lies, and where my heart is. Pediatrics. I have learned so much from these kids and these families in the brief stay that I have had in this hospital. It’s definitely where I want to be!
One of my friends said to me recently:
“It’s easy to take care of the sick adult, because they have lived their lives and made their choices. A sick child hasn’t had the chance to do either!”
There is truth to that, but I don’t see it that way. When I am on that floor taking care of patients, I know that I am making a difference to that child and to that parent on that day. There is sadness, but there is also a lot of fun. There isn’t anything like finally getting a smile out of that kid that has given you the death glare for the past 8 hours, or the exhausted “Thank You” from a worried parent. I’m not only there to take care of the children, but of entire families. That is the one thing with pediatrics that you don’t have to deal with on the adult floors. These kids come with parental baggage. That’s another thing I hear quite often from friends and other nurses:
“But you have to deal with the PARENTS.”
It’s true. You do have to deal with the parents. I have been one of those parents that the nurses have had to deal with. 🙂 I remember being scared, nervous, and horrified at what was happening to my child. They have lost control over the one thing that means the absolute most to them in the whole world. I am sure as a pediatric nurse I will deal with all kinds of parents… I have already gotten quite a diverse sample just in my short time on the floor for preceptorship. There are the anxious parents, the needy parents, the questioning parents, the demanding parents… but the worst kind for me have been the absent parents. Taking care of a child who has no parent at the bedside has presented an entirely new set of challenges for me, but I have learned to look at those little patients as the ones that have the biggest need for a true advocate on their side.
I have heard glorious stories from my fellow peers about their experiences during their preceptorship time. Code blues, babies being born, open heart surgeries…. and while I have had such a great experience, it has been so different from their excitement. But you know what? I wouldn’t change a thing.
I am truly loving it. I love kids. They are so much fun and a lot more fun than adults. They tell you the truth, and in some ways they are easier to deal with than adults because they don’t come with all that annoying adult baggage that we all have. I love developing that “Therapeutic relationship” that everyone talks about in nursing with my patients and their parents. There is something to be said about it.
Recently in the hospital, I took care of a little guy with a horrible asthma issue – and due to all his meds, he spent most of my shift throwing up. He was so matter of fact about it, too. “I’m barfing.” He would remove his little Oxygen mask and just heave into his bucket. 😀 But there is something about being at the bedside in the middle of the night, while mama is getting some well deserved rest while you hold her little one’s head over the emesis basin. That she trusts you enough to be there and that the little guy trusts you enough to lean on you. It’s a great feeling. And no, it’s not the glamorous, exciting, “CODE BLUE” side of nursing, but it’s the side that I like the most. The really awesome part is now I’m at the point that while I’m in there holding his head while he vomits, I’m also able to watch his O2 sat, listen to him , watch his respirations… assess him, just the little things that are important – but I’m able to do those things and not let them overshadow the “being there” part.
I love that.
I really am a pediatric nurse…. I just need the job and the title to prove it at this point.