I have heard it said that nurses who work with children have big hearts - but I think EVERY nurse working anywhere is truly gifted with a "big heart". Every nurse is unique in their personality, and a field where one nurse loves to work, another nurse would never be able to handle that particular job. Thus, the beauty of the nursing field. Oncology, emergency, L&D, ICU, OR, med-surg, community, schools, companies, occupational health, primary care, educators, etc., nurses can touch the lives of anyone in almost any area you can think of. As nurses we must all be able to work with our teammates in the field we are in to help improve the outcomes of our patients. Here is a story of how this may happen:
It occurred to me as he held my finger in his tiny hand and I looked into his big brown eyes - he trusts me with all of his heart.
As a nurse, I have done everything in my power to ease his pain. I have given pain medications and antibiotics, followed the orders of specialists and intensivists, worked along with therapists, all in a great effort to bring him comfort. Still, he only has enough strength to moan weakly and stare at me, imploring me for help with such intensity that it causes my heart to flip and my eyes to swell with tears, and all I can do is put my finger in his tiny hand so he can grip it as hard as he can - which isn't much, but enough for him. I touch his head gently, and he peacefully falls asleep. Sometimes healing comes from a gentle and compassionate touch. Often, you need to bring in the cavalry.
In the hospital where I work, school teachers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, techs, chaplains, therapists, and even our housekeeping team - all of us - we give everything we have to each and every child, no matter who they are. Each child has our whole attention; we give all we have and more to the healing, health, and happiness of this child. Each child is more precious to us than gold, and we value them as a sacred treasure. We understand that we may be the most important people in their life- besides their parents- when they come to us, because their life is in our hands. It is our great honor to serve children with steadfast dedication and undying loyalty.
I have seen a busy housekeeper in our ED stop what she was doing because a young girl was crying when she lost her sticker the nurse gave her after an injection. The housekeeper went up to the crying child and said, "I will find you another sticker, and I will give it to you, OK?" The little girl gratefully accepted the sticker from our housekeeper and with timid but thankful eyes, looked up at her and smiled, no longer crying.
I have seen our Chaplains and Social Workers hold parents in their arms as the parents collapse when doctors give devastating news or their child dies. I have seen the grace and comfort offered by a simple hug or a touch on the arm by a staff member. I have witnessed LPNs and techs running for equipment that was needed in order to save a child's life and never grumble when asked to run for more items. Techs who take vital signs for their nurses are keyed in on abnormal ranges and report them to nurses, and help save lives.
Therapists are amazing in their field. I love to see our RTs work with the patients - they are always so calm in any situation. I have seen them take time to educate student nurses on everything from suctioning intubated patients to inhaler administration techniques. PT, OT, ST - an amazing group of healthcare workers who develop a trusting relationship with patients and parents and help patients improve by leaps and bounds.
We work hand in hand with each other to find solutions and treatment for hurt or sick children. We work with children who scream, kick, bite, and cry when we approach them - and are grateful because they are well enough to do these things; and we work with children who cannot respond at all. We fight for each child's life, we scramble for each battle call, and we never stop trying to save the life of a child.
All of us - all healthcare workers - are healers to some degree, and when we work as a team, we increase the odds "forever in their favor" for each patient. All of us touch the life of our patient in some very important and special way. We work together in an intricate fashion, directly or indirectly, for health and healing.
We are nurses, doctors, therapists, technicians, clergy, social workers, case managers, security, environmental workers, and administration. We work as a team, we fight as a team, we win or lose as a team. Whatever happens, in any situation, we can handle it together. Because we are here - side by side - for the patient.