- Your patients can't tell you what's wrong with them or where they hurt. They also compensate for a long, long time before they crump. And when they do, it's usually a dramatic event. It takes all your observation skills to see the crash coming.
- You can't simply explain what you're going to do and expect your patients to just go along with it because it's for their own good.
- Many of the interventions you'll be required to perform will be met with shrieks and/or screaming so that all your coworkers come running to see what you're doing.
- There are no standard doses for meds. Well, there are, but they're all weight-based. No "give a gram of Ancef pre-op"... it's "give 30 mg/kg of Ancef pre-op" instead. A calculator is a required element.
- Kids react to drugs differently. For some you will see a profound effect at a minuscule dose and for others you need a tub-full to see any response - and there's really no way to know which will be which.
- Kids have parents. You are always under scrutiny and will hear that so-and-so does that better/differently/faster/more competently than you at least once a shift. You will have to explain your actions most of the time and not only to the child but to the parent too.
- Kids wrap themselves around your heart and get into your head. When they're really sick you suffer and when they die, you grieve.
- Kids are very resilient. They accept treatments that adults would refuse, they tolerate aggressive therapies that would have adults crying in their beer over, or just plain cursing and they get better just as fast as they get sick. (Usually.)
- Kids aren't afflicted with those nasty life-style related illnesses that make adults so difficult to deal with. Kids are mostly blameless when they need admission to hospital. Smaller patients = smaller diapers! (And no body hair to confound your efforts.) Exception: high school jocks and teenaged rebels who are still pediatric patients.
- They make you into a very good negotiator and an excellent teacher. They force a creativity onto us when they resist our efforts to do our jobs. A good peds nurse will know that offering to take Mommy's BP first will overcome some of the child's innate resistance. And they keep us honest. Never lie to a child, because they'll remember and they'll never cooperate with you again.
- Kids have parents. They are your very best resource, because they know that child better than anyone and will be able to provide tips on gaining cooperation, offer you assistance when you're trying to get something done that obviously needs 3 hands, and when they trust you, you know you're doing a good job... never mind any formal workplace evaluation!
- Kids wrap themselves around your heart and get into your head. When they laugh at something we say, it makes us feel great. When they want a hug before we leave the room, WOW! When they come back to visit months after discharge and have grown so much you have to look at Mom to be sure it's the same kid, it's like no other feeling. When they get really sick, you suffer and when they die, you grieve. They keep us human.