Tag Archives: pediatric nursing

The Calm Before the Storm

traumaIt’s been a quiet month on my unit.  The respiratory bugs have all died down, school sports are over for a few months, and people are more preoccupied with planning their summer vacations than going into the hospital.  It’s been very strange…. and very eerie.  It’s like we all know something is just around the corner.  And it is.  Trauma Season.  We got a taste of it last week during the Memorial Day Rush.  We had a little influx of it during prom season as well…. lots of motor vehicle accidents involving teenagers.

Soon school will be out here in Carolinas, and the kids will be outside droves.  It’s time for the car wrecks, the kid vs. car, the bicycle accidents, the (ugh) lawnmower injuries, the ATV rollovers.  They will start pouring in in the following weeks…. and while it is somewhat exciting to be a nurse during Trauma season, it’s never easy to see all the kids come up to my floor with preventable injuries.  It’s  never easy to see the child who might lose his foot to a lawnmower, or a teenager who may never walk quite right again because she was on an ATV that slammed into a tree.

So parents, take some time this summer to educate your kids on summer safety… wear seatbelts, helmets, and be responsible. Look both ways when crossing the street, and don’t ride double on the John Deere.

🙂

 

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Why I Walk for Cystic Fibrosis

What is cystic fibrosis?

From CFF.org (the website for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation):

Cystic fibrosis is an inherited chronic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 children and adults in the United States (70,000 worldwide). A defective gene and its protein product cause the body to produce unusually thick, sticky mucus that:

  • clogs the lungs and leads to life-threatening lung infections; and
  • obstructs the pancreas and stops natural enzymes from helping the body break down and absorb food.

In the 1950s, few children with cystic fibrosis lived to attend elementary school. Today, advances in research and medical treatments have further enhanced and extended life for children and adults with CF. Many people with the disease can now expect to live into their 30s, 40s and beyond.

As a pediatric nurse, I have the privilege to take care of young people with cystic fibrosis on a weekly basis.  Because of the nature of their disease, and the rigorous courses of their treatment, these children are often with us for weeks and weeks at a time. We have some children that are fortunate, that we see only every six months to a year or so for a general (what we like to call) “CF Tune Up”.  We have some children that are with us five and six times a year for sometimes a month or more at a time.  Either way, you can imagine that we get to know these kids pretty well. 🙂  We know their parents, their siblings, their families.  Their stories.  There are nurses on the floor that have worked there for ten years and have watched some of these children, who are now in their teens, grow up.  Every  nurse on the floor has a story about at least one of them.  We probably each have our “favorites”.  🙂  When I started working at the children’s hospital just over a year ago, it didn’t take long for these patients to become some of my favorites to take care of.  They have an undeniable spirit.

Some of you may not know what cystic fibrosis is.   Most people tend to think it’s just like living with a chest cold all year long.  Growing up, I knew one boy with CF in my high school class, and that is how I remember him.  The kid who coughed a lot.  I had no idea what a toll this disease takes on the entire body.  It affects each and every body system in it’s own way.  So many of these kids struggle keeping weight on because of how it affects their digestive system.  Most of them have to take several pills with every meal to help their body digest food and use the nutrients.  Many of my patients have G-tubes… tubes that go straight into their stomachs.  These kids usually are on tube feeds – meaning a pump feeds them a formula either over night, or at scheduled times during the day.  It can be a struggle to keep these kids at a healthy weight!

The regimen that cystic fibrosis patients must do on a daily basis is intense.  It involves inhaled medications in the form of breathing treatments, chest PT for up to an hour a day, and so many pills and vitamins.  All of these things take a lot of time.

Needless to say, it’s hard sometimes to just “be a kid”, when you have CF.

Watch this video to learn more about living with Cystic Fibrosis!

Knowing these kids, loving these kids and their families…. this is why I want to walk for CF in the Great Strides Event.  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is a leader in medical research, and with their help – we can find a cure for this disease in our lifetime. Last year they raised over 40 million dollars for the cause!

If you are touched, like I am, by these kids and their stories – please consider donating to my Great Strides Campaign!  I have a little over a month to hit my goal.  Every dollar counts.  With your help, we can make CF stand for CURE FOUND!!!!

Click here to donate:

donate to my cause

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Orientation (AKA: Baptism By Fire)

I love being a new nurse.  I am still fresh, and learning – and I do love to learn. I think that is one of the best things about my career… you can never top out on your knowledge.

Since I am a new grad, I am starting out one on one with a preceptor on my unit.  It’s her job to train me up in the way I should go. 🙂 Give me all the inside scoops as to how to roll on the floor and keep my head above water.  When you are orienting, you usually start out slow and gain more and more responsibilities as time goes on.  Well, on my unit times are hard right now – and we find ourselves frequently understaffed in the evenings by no fault of our own.  They have hired several newbies like me to help pick up the slack eventually, but the hiring process takes awhile – not to mention the training process! As a result, my orientation has started out on the crazy side.  The good news is I am the kind of girl who can roll with the punches.  It’s ok with me that things don’t always go as planned.  And you know what? That is kind of how nursing rolls.  Even the lowest patient census can provide you a crazy night – and you just have to be able to adapt and get on with it. Get the work done.  I am learning on my feet and I am ok with that. 🙂

It’s amazing to me as a new nurse just how much I don’t know.  You think you are really smart coming out of nursing school (hell, I was valedictorian!) but real life nursing creates entirely new sets of challenges and skills that I have never faced before.  Last week I was finally able to get my hands on a central line to draw labs. Guess how many times in nursing school I was able to play with central lines? Zero. Guess how many times I was allowed to draw blood? Zero.  Real world experience is where the real learning and teaching takes place for floor nursing and it’s been a blast for me to get up in it and meet the challenges head on.

I am really blessed with a great, patient, and funny preceptor who stands by me and points me in the right direction.  That’s important.

The great news is that even on these crazy nights where I don’t get to sit down and my lunch consists of cheetos and a Dr. Pepper because the Cafeteria closes at 3am — I still love it.  There is no doubt in my mind that this is where I belong.  I really love nursing. I really love pediatrics.

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Why do pediatric nurses need to like kids?

This was actually a search term that someone typed in to land on my blog.  I think if you have to ask the question, this field is probably not the right one for you.

The one thing pediatric nursing has the most of? Kids. Lots and lots of kids.

🙂

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Where I want to work…

When you start working in the hospitals… on the floors, here and there… you start to get a sense of where you “belong”.  There are so many places, so many specialities.  And I will admit, there is something special about every place I have worked. I truly adore Med/Surg.  I love seeing so much.  Learning so much.  Taking care of post op patients give you so many opportunities to learn new things and use all your handy dandy nursing interventions.  However, back over the summer I worked a term at the local Children’s Hospital (on a med/surg floor, actually!)  and my time there was so special.  There is something to be said of feeling a sense of “belonging” in your work.  I find it funny because when I started nursing school the last thing I ever thought I would want to do was work with children.  But it took me less than 6 weeks to change my mind.

Maybe it has something to do with being on the other side.  I am the mother to an asthmatic, and I have spent many an hour playing the “worried mom” role by a hospital bed, watching my kid get breathing treatment after breathing treatment.  I have had the good nurses, and I have had the bad nurses in these situations…. and they make a difference.  Pediatrics isn’t just about patient care. It’s about FAMILY care.  That worried mom is your biggest ally and your biggest enemy at the same time.  She can be the greatest source of help and information – or she can be your greatest pain in the ass if you don’t play your cards right.  It’s a balancing act. But I have been that worried mom – so maybe it’s why when I had a mom that lashed out over the summer, or the mom that was less than enthusiastic about having a “student” nurse…. I understood where they were coming from.  I had been there in their shoes.

I had some of the most remarkable experiences working in Pediatrics this summer. I really did. I saw how a nurse can be that fine strand that holds that worried mom together.  I was that nurse this summer…. and it was easy for me.  I fell into a pattern of hugging families, of loving these kids that weren’t mine that I only cared for for two days at a time (in clinical, that was our shift).  I saw so many sad things…. but these sad things inspired me.  To be a better nurse.  To be what these families needed.  To be a bright light.

I know it sounds completely corny.  Believe me, it sounds corny even to me.  But when I left that floor on my last day of clinical – I felt overwhelming sadness.  I never expected to love it like I did (like I do!!).  I really didn’t.  I figured with three kids at home – why would I want to go to work every day and take care of MORE kids? 🙂

I know I will work in pediatrics again.  I know it, because it is what I am *meant* to do.  I am a pediatric nurse in the making!!

I have an incredible opportunity on the horizon.  On Monday I have a job interview at that same hospital…. for a tech position.  A tech’s work isn’t glamorous.  It’s hard work, for little pay.  But for me? It’s an opportunity to get back in there and take care of these kids.  I spend all my time working on adults now, and while they are fascinating… the work doesn’t have that same *spark* for me. 🙂  Bring on the kiddos.

So, wish me luck. I need my pediatrics fix to tide me over until I can get in there as an RN. 🙂

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Goodbye 4.0, Hello OB

I finished up the semester with an A-.  Needless to say, I wasn’t happy about that grade at all…. had a hard time on the final!  Ugh.  It wasn’t a great way to end the class, but it was fitting.  Pediatrics was one of those classes that I LOVED THE CLINICALS SO MUCH – but hated the class.  The lectures were rough, the material presented flat, and the tests were frustrating.  My final had material on it (it was a cumulative final) that we never once discussed in class or read over in the book.  Heck, there were a few questions on that final that weren’t even IN the book to review!  It definitely frustrated my type A personality.  However, I finished the class with a 3.7, so I shouldn’t complain.  Maybe now that the 4.0 is gone (I mean, there is no getting it back, right?) I can start to relax with the perfectionism!!  Hahaha, yeah right.

I’m actually curious to see how many we lost between the end of pediatrics and the start of OB.  I have a bad feeling that pediatrics separated some men from the boys, if you know what I mean.  I know a lot of people are crappy test takers – which is unfortunate, because there are some that are struggling that would still make great nurses! And there are ones that are succeeding with flying colors that WON’T. (I’m not one of them of course…. Hahahahaha)  You know what I mean, though? Sometimes it doesn’t seem fair that we are forced to take these tests and our futures rely on the 77 or better.  It’s enough to give people ulcers.  OF COURSE I want my  nurses to be smart and skilled, but truly – I know people who KNOW the material, who are AWESOME in the clinical setting, and they are struggling with the tests.

We’ll know how many of us are gone tomorrow, I guess.

We are already down to less than 60 before the start of summer session!

Anyway, tomorrow begins the start of OB.  I’m looking forward to it!! It will be a different change of scenery anyway, right? 🙂 And another one checked off the list.  In the fall I start my Adult Complex classes.  I’m actually REALLY excited about those. I LIKED working on the Med/Surg floor. I’m weird like that.  (However, the feeling on the peds floor was COMPLETELY different – calmer, and less stress filled for the nurses/techs!)

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Filed under General Nursing Blather, Lecture Notes

Finishing up Pediatrics

I have learned a lot in this short semester, and to be honest this has been my favorite clinical rotation of them all!  I can really see myself being a peds nurse…. and I never in a million years thought I would say that. I really loved all the kids I worked with, even when the families were a bit off the wall.  🙂  Last week I was able to really impact a family for the better and learned the true meaning of “family centered care”.   It was awesome ~  there are moments in nursing school where you actually *feel* like a real nurse, and I felt like a real nurse the entire time I was on the pediatric floor.   Maybe this is my calling?

I have my last exam on Tuesday, and then on Thursday we have our cumulative final.  Needless to say I have a lot of studying in front of me!  I’m doing well, grade wise – but I need a miracle to keep my 4.0. I have no doubt that I will clear this course with an A… but I really want that 4.0 A.  LOL!  We had a 10+ page paper due last week, and I’m anxiously awaiting my grade on that.  Hoping that it will kick my grade up a bit!!!!

As soon as my final is over, my next semester starts (we have a “split” summer semester – two short sessions).  I will be in Obstetrics.  I’m excited about it… it should be fun!

But I really don’t think I will like anything as much as I liked pediatrics!!!!

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