Quote from applewhitern
umcRn, I guess it just depends on your experience with the parents. We had one mother who went absolutely ballistic because we had shaved the baby's head to place a scalp vein. We had one who brought a pistol into the ICU and threatened to kill us all. We had one who asked to borrow scissors, then proceded to cut the trach ties on her freshly trached child. The kids we had were the sickest of the sick~ all on vents, etc. I have a lot of fond memories of working on that unit for 6 years. I loved the job. But the kids were just too sick to have parents there. We might have 8 different drips going at once. We also did open heart on the babies that had less than a 5% chance of making it, so I guess it was just a different environment. When a child is a "2 on 1" with two nurses for one child, you can't work while stepping around parents.
I certainly work in the exact same environment as you though we have a large "family friendly" unit that just opened recently with private patient rooms and plenty of room for parents to be out of the way. We certainly have our issues as an inner city hospital, we have banned parents who threaten to bring in guns or decan their child resulting in a code but we don't ban them all. We also have multiple drips, vents, oscillators, heart surgery on patients who wouldnt (shouldn't) be candidates elsewhere, e-cpr, ecmo, cvvh, dialysis, therapeutic hypothermia, patients who require 2-3 nurses all to themselves, transplant, berlin hearts. I still do not think being critically ill should mean parents shouldnt be there. In fact I think the sicker the patient the better for the family to be there, to see that we are doing everything for their child and aren't left wondering if we did something wrong or didnt do something when the child still dies. We work around the parents, we encourage parental contact if it is safe for the child. If the child cannot tolerate it we tell the parents and if there is an issue then it might escalate to behavior contracts or other limits set by social work, security, management or legal if it gets to that. To deny parents contact with their children while they are possibly dying seems inhumane. Even the family we banned we allowed back in with supervised visits by security when it became clear she wasn't going to survive.
Sorry, I am one of the parents support people on my unit and hearing about a place that doesnt allow parents in because the child is "too sick" just makes my blood boil. They NEED that contact, even if they can only touch a hand or a foot, or just sit by the bed or in the back of the room and do nothing, they need to be able to do that and I try my hardest no matter how sick the patient is to allow them some contact during the shift, to keep them updated on the plan of care, to let them know if things are going well or going badly, they deserve to be there and to know. There are too many children in this world abandoned by their parents, left in the hospital with no visits for months, I am certainly not going to discourage the ones who do care from being there.
To the OP clearly you can see the challenges in working peds from these posts and conversations. You have to be a special kind of person to want to work with sick kids and believe me, banning parents is not going to be the norm in most places. Most facilities are going "family-centered" these days so if you want to go into peds be prepared for the parents. The good bad and the ugly. And try to put yourself into their shoes. I can't imagine what was going on in my kiddos parents mind this past weekend. One minute mom was holding him, next minute we were doing compressions and calling ECMO and prepping him to have his chest cracked for cannulation. They are TERRIFIED, angry and don't understand. They will and do lash out and sometimes as the bedside nurse you take the brunt of it and have to realize that that is their way of coping with a stressful situation and its not typically a personal thing. Many do calm down and apologize later.