Saturday, October 2, 2010
I know a lot has been in the press about Children's Hospital this last week. A place I take great pride in working at. A place that treats and saves hundreds of sick kids a day. A place that spends MILLIONS of dollars on helping kids, and doesn't get any compensation in return. A place where I've truly seen miracles happen. And although I know intimately the details of the events, and it absolutely kills me to read the newspapers and idiot people's comments on-line...to be quite honest it infuriates me...I'm not allowed to say what happened. But, I can tell you this, it's not as cut and dry or black as white as the media makes it sound...and I can also tell you that the two nurses involved are phenomenal people that I would let take care of my own kid any day of the week.
We are human beings, we make mistakes. I still hold on to two very huge mistakes I have made in my career, I was just lucky enough that they didn't have a tragic outcome. And sometimes a stroke of luck is all it comes down to. Because nurses are the front line, we are the 'do-ers', we are the final check. I wish, that we did just what some of the public perceived, took blood pressures, brought patients water, and smiled politely while doctors ordered us around....but we don't. We work in a world of constant distractions. We not not only take care of severely, critically, ill children (not the cute little sick ones they show on the news)...but we also take care of their moms, dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings. We are constantly asked questions, constantly explaining what we are doing and why, constantly being scrutinized, and I understand because I cannot imagine a greater fear than giving up care of your own child to a stranger. We are constantly getting phone calls from radiology, from EEG techs, from Ultrasound techs, from pharmacists, from the lab, from the blood bank, from primary care providers, from social workers, and from families. We are constantly coordinating everything for every service We are searching for our patients charts, calling doctors, updating flow sheets, and assessing, always assessing. We know from hour to hour, geez, from minute to minute, a patient can deteriorate in the blink of an eye. We are constantly checking orders from physicians, making sure we have orders we need, making sure we get orders we don't have, and making sure all of these orders are safe for the patient. We are giving medications, checking and double checking, checking to make sure the 8, 9 and/or 10 continuous medications that are running in with each other are even compatible, checking to make sure some medications don't run out...because that could be life threatening, making sure doses are correct, and making sure they are being giving to the patient they are intended for. We are also hunting down parents to sign consents, updating parents as their child is in surgery, and holding parents when they see their baby in absolute dire straits. We are constantly 'doing'. We wear 30 different hats. We are the coordinators, the educators, the advocates, the comforters, the realists, the 'last check', the shoulders to cry on, the hands to hold, and the ones remembered. We do all of this in 12 hours, because 8 hours simply wouldn't do. We do all of this with a smile on our face, because we love what we do. Every single person I work with absolutely, without a doubt, loves what they do. We work hard, we don't take breaks, we get lunch when we can, we trust each other implicitly, and we rarely complain. We want to be in the thick of it all and we are always one step ahead. No matter what happens, we are prepared. We are the eyes and the ears. And then we go home. And we act like nothing happened. We don't talk about the 9 day old that we did chest compressions on for over an hour, the father that was screaming in the corner, we don't talk about the mom that finally got to hold her baby, for the first time ever, only to watch him take his last breath, and we don't talk about the mother we quietly sat with as their child lay in the operating room having limbs amputated due to some serious bacteria that somehow affected their perfectly normal child only two days ago. We just go home, maybe say work was a little busy...because really, nobody else could ever understand what we see and do, kiss our own kiddos on the head as they sleep, and know how truly, truly lucky we are to have them safe and sound in their beds, eat some dinner, and pack our lunch for the next 12 hour day. We do this 365 days a year, 24 hours a day...weekends & holidays...and we do it with a smile. Because when it comes down to it, none of us could ever imagine doing anything else in the world.