"I don't know how you do it"

  1. This has to be the most common comment I get when I tell people that I am a pediatric nurse and that my primary population is pediatric oncology.

    Yesterday I went hiking with a group of people I'd never met before, so naturally I got this from every person. One of these people was a social worker in the substance abuse field... I'd say the same thing back to him. I'll take kids with cancer over drunk adults any day.
  2. Visit KelRN215 profile page

    About KelRN215, BSN, RN

    Joined: Oct '10; Posts: 6,995; Likes: 15,270


  3. by   ChristineN
    I feel like the public says this about many areas of nursing. I used to do peds but now work ER and lots of people will tell me that they "don't know how I do it.". It is odd when people make these remarks, but normally I just shrug it off or say "well someone has to do it.". I mean, I can't imagine doing anything else...
  4. by   smurfynursey
    I used to work at a pediatric hospice and that is frequently the response I would get. Kids are great teachers. And like many peds nurses, I would take a sick kid over a healthy adult any day.
  5. by   LoveMyBugs
    Yup get that or " I like kids to much, I would hate to see them sick" yeah I like kids too, which is why I like to take care of them, nothing makes you feel like you made a difference when you get to see them walk out of the hospital healthy.
  6. by   nursel56
    That comment really bugs me, because it sounds like they consider themselves to be just too sensitive and caring which makes us . . . what? Not so much?
  7. by   Stitchy's mom
    I look at it totally different. I couldn't work in the ER. I liked working on the Mommy/Baby unit. I don't like never knowing what's going to happen. Yes, I know that you can have a baby go bad, but NEVER knowing what's coming in...I couldn't do that. The stress of that is just waaaaaaay too much for me. I don't think they think you're uncaring, just stronger than they are. I know ER nurses are much, much stronger that I am.
  8. by   echocat
    I get that about hospice nursing too, which is the best nursing job I've ever had. I work with families and patients to provide comfort and dignity, and the absoute worst part of my job is the "office". Being aware from administration and management allows me to concentrate on one patient at a time and give them all the time they need. Patients and families love that. Of course I have some difficult patients, but I would rather take the time to educate and deal with difficult families who really need to vent as opposed to spending one minute more in the office than I absolutely have to.

    My answer to that question is "I love what I do, and I go where I need to be."
  9. by   LaRoseRN
    When I first graduated and landed my job in peds oncology, one of my male nurse friends who worked in the ER told me, "I could never do that. The only reason you can do it is because you don't have kids yet. Once you have kids, you'll understand."

    Seriously?!? Not having children makes me more desensitized or something?!?
    What about my coworkers who already have children or are pregnant?

    People make the weirdest comments sometimes...
  10. by   bankssarn
    Quote from nursel56
    That comment really bugs me, because it sounds like they consider themselves to be just too sensitive and caring which makes us . . . what? Not so much?
    I don't think it's meant like that at all. Personally, I don't think I'm mentally and emotionally strong enough to work with terminally ill children. It's not that I think I care more, because that isn't the case. I work in long-term care and people have said to me, "I don't know how you do it." I think we all have our comfort zones; our niche; our calling, and can't imagine ourselves working in an unfamiliar, uncomfortable setting.
  11. by   JustBeachyNurse
    I work with medically complex children in a home health/ private duty environment whether in home, at school, on a bus or all 3. The majority are 'non-verbal'. I'm often asked how I can work with children who do not speak, I reply "oh they talk, they may not use traditional verbal communication but they all speak if you listen & pay attention."

    People ask how I could work in such sad situations or they want to pity my clients. Why is it sad if this child is loved so much and his/her family is strong & capable enough to want to care for them at home? Even when I did a rotation in pedi LTC many of my classmates could only see the sadness/pity whether a patient was there due to parental abuse or an accident. I chose to see the child's potent is not the disability. That they had beautiful skin (even in acute care there were patients with the beginnings of stage 1 breakdown if they weren't being repositioned ) because staff made repositioning a care priority. A wonderful caring rapport between staff & patients as there is a low staff turn over in that facility. Those children were loved & well cared for across the Maslow hierarchy.

    Even when I worked EMS & ED I chose to do the work because I could and my skills were needed.

    Not everyone can work pediatrics. I do my job because I have the skills & capabilities and actually love the challenges This is more than a job for me.

    I think it is all about perspective. Seeing the potential abilities and the positive attributes in your patient/client rather than defects (yes, someone actually used that term to refer to a client) and limitations can make a world of difference.
  12. by   Vishwamitr
    Dear KelRN215,
    Not to down-play Social Workers' contribution, I'd say that your job is much more difficult than theirs.
    Children have had no say in their affliction be it genetic, hereditary, or an epidemic outbreak whereas adults have made informed choice about their substance abuse (I might mention here that I do not subscribe to the theory of substance-abuse being a "mental-illness" although I hear arguments from both sides of the aisle).
    I have only one comment for you: I don't know how you do it.
  13. by   Vishwamitr
    I hear you loud and clear LaRoseRN. Very well said.
  14. by   Amnesty
    Quote from nursel56
    That comment really bugs me, because it sounds like they consider themselves to be just too sensitive and caring which makes us . . . what? Not so much?
    Nah, just a lot stronger. Sick kids is the one area I don't think I would ever even want to try. It's more of a statement made in awe that you could go in there every day and see and feel the heartbreak for these kids and not let it break you, because we don't think that we could be that strong. Everybody has their area like that.