Adolescents vs. Children

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    I want to go into peds nursing. I feel as if I am able to communicate better with children because of my silliness. I am currently an EMT and I actually get called into work if it is a peds transport because I am able to handle peds cases very well.
    However, what is your take on those teenagers who are admitted? Do they need that kind of attention that children need? Or are they more of those elderly type of patients who do not want help at all? I have heard *horror* stories about pre teens and teens giving some of the nurses attitudes and being somewhat rambunctious (for some reason) while in the hospital.
    I feel like I can work well with teenagers as well, but prehospital care and hospital care are two very different settings.
    Thanks in advance,

    -Courtney M
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  3. 11 Comments so far...

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    Teens can't really be cared for the same way as younger children. You have to first feel them out, see what their personalities are like. Most teens are "grumpy" because they would rather be hanging out with their friends than sitting in a hospital bed. Teens value their privacy so you must tread lightly with invasive procedures/questions. I very much enjoy the teens. Just like you may get a young child that is running all over listening to nobody, you may also get a teen that wants nothing to do with you.
    poppycat likes this.
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    I love my teenage patients but caring for a teen is different than caring for a younger child. For example, a 2 year old with cancer has no concept of what is going on- they don't realize that it's not normal that they're in the hospital for weeks at a time or that they have lines coming out of their chest and belly and are connected to multiple machines. A 16 year old who had a normal life before is VERY aware of what they've lost and what's going on. They will be angry in ways that younger children are not.
    poppycat likes this.
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    Also, teens are often typically annoyed (or even angry) that they're placed on a peds unit with staff who are wearing cartoon character scrubs and talking to them like they're small children (simply from force of habit). They really want to be treated like they are adults (which isn't really appropriate, either -- it's a fine line to walk, as a staff person ).
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    Thanks for all of your feedback! All is great information! I like the cartoon scrubs comment! Sounds like it can be very tricky working with adolescents. Moreover, question is: Would you recommend peds nursing? Also, how often is there usually adolescents on the floor? Is it busier than the regular adult floor?
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    Quote from CourtM092
    Thanks for all of your feedback! All is great information! I like the cartoon scrubs comment! Sounds like it can be very tricky working with adolescents. Moreover, question is: Would you recommend peds nursing? Also, how often is there usually adolescents on the floor? Is it busier than the regular adult floor?
    My experience is in child psych nursing, not peds med-surg, but the thing that I remember quite vividly from my peds rotation in school is that, in peds, you don't have 4 or 5 or 6 patients; you have 12 or 15, because you have whatever kids you are assigned plus the freaked out parents at the bedside.
    smurfynursey likes this.
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    It's hard to recommend, that is a personal choice. I absolutely hated adult and I look forward to my shifts on peds onco. It has its days tho. Trying to get a blood draw or IV started can sometimes take all of your patience and many staff. Peds deaths, although not as likely to happen in med surg are hard to deal with. But I have days where a toddler runs up and hugs your legs or a teen genuinely confides in you, those are the days. (:
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    Quote from elkpark

    My experience is in child psych nursing, not peds med-surg, but the thing that I remember quite vividly from my peds rotation in school is that, in peds, you don't have 4 or 5 or 6 patients; you have 12 or 15, because you have whatever kids you are assigned plus the freaked out parents at the bedside.
    Haha, well said about the additional load.
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    Quote from CourtM092
    Thanks for all of your feedback! All is great information! I like the cartoon scrubs comment! Sounds like it can be very tricky working with adolescents. Moreover, question is: Would you recommend peds nursing? Also, how often is there usually adolescents on the floor? Is it busier than the regular adult floor?
    Whether or not I would recommend peds nursing depends on a lot of things. The majority of nurses are not peds nurses and many of them have no desire to be.

    The prevalence of adolescents depends on a lot of things as well. I spent the first five years of my career working at a pediatric hospital. I doubt if there was ever a day when we didn't have adolescents on my floor, being a specialty floor. There were floors (adolescent medicine) that had almost all adolescents and there were floors (infant/toddler surgery) that almost never saw them. A floor like oncology will see patients from infants all the way through young adults.
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    Quote from KelRN215
    Whether or not I would recommend peds nursing depends on a lot of things. The majority of nurses are not peds nurses and many of them have no desire to be.

    The prevalence of adolescents depends on a lot of things as well. I spent the first five years of my career working at a pediatric hospital. I doubt if there was ever a day when we didn't have adolescents on my floor, being a specialty floor. There were floors (adolescent medicine) that had almost all adolescents and there were floors (infant/toddler surgery) that almost never saw them. A floor like oncology will see patients from infants all the way through young adults.
    Specific adolescent units are the ideal, obviously, but, outside of specialty children's hospitals, most places don't have the space or sufficient pediatric population to justify them -- so the adolescents go to the generic peds units.


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