Sally is an emergency room pediatric nurse from New York. She works twelve hour shifts four days a week at a hospital in Brooklyn. Working in the emergency room requires endurance, patience, and precision. Although she came into pediatric nursing accidentally, she’s glad she did it.
Sally didn’t always want to be a pediatric nurse. When she was deciding career options, her family pressured her into nursing. She agreed, thinking it would be good income and easy work. That was not the case. Getting into nursing programs is extremely competitive due to the lack of nursing teachers. This contributes to our society’s current nursing shortage. It’s a catch-22. Fortunately, Sally had been a straight-A student in science. She was able to excel in her BA nursing program and to complete the requisite hands on training in the emergency room.
Many people think nursing merely involves taking temperatures and giving shots. That is not the case. As an emergency room pediatric nurse, Sally must have an endless supply of patience and people skills. In the pediatric ward, she often has to deal with tempers. Kids do not like getting shots! Some kids are so ill that they vomit or urinate on her. In the emergency room, she also needs to make split second decisions. Working in the pediatric unit requires excellent math skills. When prescribing pediatric medicine in the emergency room, dosage amount is calculated according to the child’s weight. One miscalculation could be fatal!
Being a pediatric nurse has its rewards as well as its pitfalls. She loves seeing kids get better. They love her because they know she helped them. Children are more open and affectionate than adults. They are not afraid to show their appreciation. She prides herself on being a patient advocate, intelligent, and competent, but she makes sure not to use her intelligence to belittle people.
The most difficult aspect of pediatric nursing comes from the administration. Sally often has to appease hospital administrators. Sometimes they think more about numbers than they do about patients. They don’t always listen to the voices of the staff. With the pressures of the emergency room and the overbearing bureaucracy, it’s hard not to come home cranky. Often supervisors are eyeing the nurses and scrutinizing their every move. She wishes they would just let her do her job. She reminds herself not to get too worked up about the things that go on in the pediatric ward. It’s all about compartmentalization. She just tries not to think about work when she’s home.
Although she was initially pressured into pediatric nursing, Sally has no regrets. In college, she came to love nursing on her own. She loves knowing that she heals people. Pediatric nursing gives her a sense of confidence and purpose. Not everyone has a calling for the nursing profession, but Sally has the delicate balance of being compassionate, but levelheaded, organized, but knowing how to respond to the unexpected. Having grown up with many younger cousins, she can bring her experience with children to the pediatric unit. She loves using her talents to give back to the community.
If Sally hadn’t become a pediatric nurse, she might have become a designer. She has a visual mind and head of a designer. When she walks into a room, she automatically thinks about how she could decorate or fix it up. She appreciates a good design. Fortunately, she applies her visual skills to pediatric nursing. Being visual helps her to recognize her patients when they return to the emergency room. “If I remember each patient and their needs, it establishes continuity in the nurse-patient relationship. It builds trust.”
Although she is content with her career, she cautions that pediatric nursing is not for everyone. “It is such a stressful job, especially in the emergency room. You have to love it. You have to have a passion for it. Don’t go into nursing unless you absolutely want to.”