I love my pediatric patients!
This article is about being a pediatric nurse and what I have learned from it. It discusses the realities of caring for long term patients and talks about the gifts nurses receive in return. It is meant to inspire others and to describe why I love being a pediatric nurse and why I love my patients.
I am a pediatric nurse, one who feels that my specialty is a calling...an irresistible one. I work primarily with children who have disabilities and require chronic and complicated care 24/7. So often my friends, family and acquaintances say to me " That must be so sad! How do you do it?" Today I want to set the record straight. It is NOT sad- sure it hurts like the dickens when I lose a patient I am extremely fond of, but that is only a small portion of what I do.
I have worked at a children's hospital, in pediatric home care, and am now an instructor with clinicals at a long term care facility for pediatrics. My kids have a beauty that transcends the ordinary world. They are often wise beyond their years. Their beautiful spirits and shining faces are all I see when I meet them: not their trachs, vents, GTs, etc. They are more than their disability, they are little human beings with hopes and dreams. They love wholly and unconditionally with unabashed joy. The wisdom and life lessons I have learned from caring for my kids is immeasurable yet very tangible. For every child I have cared for, my soul has retained a small piece. Because of my kids, I have a zest for life, compassion, I can find joy in the small stuff, and I have learned what is important and what is not.
Over the years I have marveled at and have been astounded by these little people. So many of them have endured countless treatments, surgeries and procedures just to live! Some of them struggle for every breath they take, yet they do not give up. They do not give in. They persevere and they keep on going, always reaching to accomplish that next task, that next milestone. Most astounding to me is that their capacity to love is not damaged. Despite all of the unpleasant things they have endured at the hands of medical personnel, they continue to be accepting of strangers, and welcome nurses and therapists with open hearts, minds and arms. They see the good in the world and are often very happy and content.
Their enthusiasm is contagious, and before you know it, you are happy, smiling and laughing too! Many of the children I have cared for were sent home to die; their parents were told they would never survive, or that they would never walk or talk, or sit up....but they did not give up! I have seen true miracles happen (but not without some hard work for all involved).
Kids that were going to die are now functional members of society-they are walking, talking, eating, and doing all of the things their parents were told they would never do. In fact, a former patient of mine was the flower girl at my wedding! How did this happen? It happened through the dedication and love from their parents and their nurses and therapists. You CAN make a difference in a child's life but also in your own. It is my feeling that as nurses, we can never give back what we take when we deal with these patients ( I am speaking of the life lessons we learn).
So, spend that extra few minutes at bedtime reading your child one more book; take that time to express your love to your family and friends, hold that newborn child and relish in its accomplishments as it grows. Hug a disabled child. Reach out to a frazzled parent and offer an ear or a hand. Take the time to stop and see the true beauty these children possess that all children possess. Do not judge others or the decisions they make. Provide comfort for someone who is losing their most precious gift: their child. Many times I have felt discouraged and felt like quitting yet I was unable to.
Unable? Yes-God put me in my place, he said to me "you are not finished with your work". I know that some day I will rest and my work will be done, but not until the big guy upstairs says so! I am so eternally grateful that I was given the gift of being able to be a see the beauty in these children I serve, of being able to feel the love and compassion that they so desperately need. I hope that all who enter a specialty area of nursing feel the passion for what you do as strongly: your patients will thank you for it, and you will be fulfilled. Hopefully I have successfully portrayed the life of a pediatric nurse from one nurse's point of view. I truly love my patients!
I have been a pediatric nurse since 1983, and have worked with a patient population consisting of chronically ill children a great deal of that time.
Joined Jun '13; Posts: 13; Likes: 33.Jul 28Love it! Eloquently put and so true! God bless you! I still visit my ped pt that aged out but wad moved to a faculty for adults near my house .Tom was born blind with vestigial hands and feet, hydrocephalus , non verbal and looks like Humpty Dumpty ! I have never seen a happier kid. His smile is like sunshine esp when I sing his fav song. He was dropped at 2 months of age, given 6 months to live and is 27 years old now ! His skin is intact and he uplifts my spirit every time I visit.Jul 29I spent much of my career in peds caring for chronically ill and seriously disabled children, and so many of them I still think of as "my" kids. You expressed so well what I have also seen and wondered at--the amazing ability of children to love, forgive, and so often thrive against all possible odds. I have a box full of mementos--a lock of hair from one little guy's first haircut, beaded necklaces and bracelets, pictures of smiling stick figures with vents at their sides, finger paintings, hair ribbons, etc. Many of them have moved on to whatever comes next, but they live on in the hearts of those they touched. I have always believed that "special" people are here to teach us how to be better--kinder, more tolerant, more appreciative of the simple joys in life.
Thank you so much for your story--beautiful!Jul 31This ties in so perfectly the way I feel about Pediatric Nursing. I work home health pediatric nursing for chronically ill and disabled patients. I finally feel I found the part of nursing I belong in. It also makes me appreciate my little one even more. Thank you for this!
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