Tag Archives: pediatrics

On My Mind


Being a nurse is always challenging, but some days it can be a little much emotionally. Today was one of those days.  And I find myself reminiscing about certain children I’ve cared for in the past.

Ever since I was a brand new nurse 13 years ago, I’ve always worked with kids.  Some kids stay on my mind for the whole day or night – some for always.

  • I’ll never forget my 8-year-old patient on the pediatric hematology/oncology floor.  I was a brand new nurse working the night shift.  He had been diagnosed with cancer in his home country and traveled with his mom to the states for treatment.  He contracted a horrible fungal infection along the way.  His mom worked nights and he didn’t speak English, so I was assigned to him.  Nevermind that I was brand-spanking-new and he had multiple drips and meds and I was overwhelmed.  I managed fine.  He had a glowing smile, and he sometimes would join us at the nurses station and drink a cup of coffee with us!  Last I heard he was doing well, but that was years ago.
  • Even though it was brief, I won’t forget the baby who died in the emergency room.  I was working the night EMS transported a 1-year-old baby to us.  The nurses who had been working there for awhile knew of this baby.  He had a chronic congenital condition called hydrocephalus and was not expected to have a long life.  He was a DNR – Do Not Resuscitate – patient.  That meant the healthcare team could only provide specific treatments laid out in the plan.  That included oxygen and epinephrine/atropine.  The baby died right there in front of us.  We gave the baby to his mom and gave them privacy so she could say goodbye.  In the meantime, I contacted the Organ and Tissue Center and made a sad discovery – this baby didn’t even weigh enough to donate his organs, even though the mom was willing.  It was heartbreaking.  And I had to go on about my shift, taking care of ear infections and demanding patients, and I wanted to yell at them “There’s a dead baby in Bed 6!” It was a nightmare that I didn’t want to experience again.  I didn’t last long in that ER.
  • When I worked at a different school several years ago, one of our students was taken away on a stretcher by EMS because he practically rolled off the bus, disoriented, saying “My dad gave me a white pill.”  He was physically ok, but I wonder what his life has been like.
  • When I worked in a pediatrician’s office, we took care of a newborn who was in foster care.  She had a birth defect called partial anencephaly – her brain didn’t properly form and she was only born with primitive brain stem function.  She was a beautiful little baby, and her instinct to suck kept her alive for a short time, taking a bottle from her foster mom.  I couldn’t get over how “normal” she looked from the outside.  The doctor I worked with said “It’s so sad that she won’t develop past this point.”  I wonder how long she lived.

I’ve done this long enough to know:  Today’s experiences may fade away.  We have so many encounters with so many patients as nurses, that it is impossible to remember them all.  Today I was told one of our students had major emergency surgery and we will wait to see how the child’s functioning will be affected.  Another student suffered a traumatic hand injury at the end of the school day – I sent him off after some quick first aid to be taken care of.  These two will stay on my mind for awhile.  Even when I feel my brain and heart have reached their maximum capacity for caring and concern, life goes on and kids get sick and hurt.  And I will stand with other nurses, ready to receive and bound to remember, at least for a time.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,
%d bloggers like this: