In my group of friends at university when I was studying nursing, I was one of the few who knew that Paediatrics was where I was heading. I didn’t know what area of Paediatrics but I knew that my nursing career was headed in the direction of looking after sick children. In fact, in my year 12 year book I even said that it was where I wanted to be in 10 years time.
I was lucky enough after a 12 month new grad (nurse transition) program that had no paediatrics in it to get a job at a children’s hospital. I cried when I was offered the position!
People often say to me that it takes a special person to look after sick children and yes I guess that is true but as I always say, I get so much more from the job than I could ever give to it.
There is something unique about looking after children for so many reasons
- children are so brutally honest….. if you are fat, thin, tall, funny or even sick, a sick child will tell you in the bluntest manner. I am always amused when a child tells me I have a big bottom…. they are telling the truth, and the look on their parents face is worth it every time. Total embarrassment. I always giggle!
- as the nurse, we see sick children at their worst but also parents at their worst. Being able to be a part of that is something very special because more often than not we see that turn around into a celebration and it is great to be there for that.
- we get to go fun things at work and it is accepted. Whether it be dress up in costume, wear pigtails in your hair, sing or dance or be silly. We are often celebrating a fundraiser, a special day or a hospital event and we always get involved and do it. It’s a great part of the job.
- A hospitalised child is often the worst experience that will effect their family and often we have 16 children in that situation in our ward alone. It is wonderful to be able to help these families to deal with the trauma of that. Their child may be in for something simple or perhaps a long road of visits but being there is something quite rewarding. Knowing that you make the smallest difference is one of the reasons we go to work every day.
- adolescents will give you a challenging day just as much as a baby but getting to combine a little of both in each and every work day is truly rewarding
Would I recommend a job in the field of paediatrics?
I could not speak more highly of it as a career. You still get to chose between medical, surgical, intensive care, recovery, theatre, emergency or community but you also get to be involved in the lives of people who appreciate what we do in more ways than they could ever express. Helping a child return home to their families really does give you that warm fuzzy feeling.