Thursday, March 15, 2012

Clinical update - pediatrics

So to finish off my nursing school update, the other clinical I am in for the next couple months is pediatrics. I am on the "older kids" side of the unit, which typically means school-aged, or approximately 6-18 y/o. A lot of what I see is kids with cystic fibrosis, asthma flare-ups, sickle cell disease, or other genetic childhood diseases. I love working with the kids, but some of the kids in this hospital are just really, really sick, so it's also very sad.

Despite being on the older-aged side of the unit, it happens to still be winter, so the infant/toddler side has had a ton of overflow onto our side. Though I am supposed to be working with school-agers, I have also cared for a few in the 3-12 month old range with RSV and other acute respiratory issues. These little ones are so adorable and I can only imagine how frightening it is for the parents when their kids have these illnesses (example of stridor, a symptom common in kids with croup, epiglottitis, and other respiratory problems). 

The thing I have most had to work on this semester on the pediatric floor is communication with families. The hospital I work at encourages "rooming in", where the parent stays with their child in the hospital as long as the child is there. It promotes healing and most often reduces the kid's anxiety and stress related to the change in their routine. Some of our patients' mothers have not left the hospital in over a week. They are anxious for their child, and in some cases, they want to know everything there is to know to help. It has taught me the importance of knowing every drug you give, and knowing the reasoning behind every nursing action you perform so that you have an answer when the parent (who is watching your every move) asks you why you're doing that.

Overall, I feel like I spend most of my clinical time this semester teaching. Teaching mothers, kids, parents, etc. how to better manage their illness, baby, etc. Last semester (working with adults and psych/mental health patients), I did a lot less teaching because either (a) the patient already knew about their disease and how to best care for themselves through research or past teaching, or in some cases (b) the patient was not capable of understanding at the moment because they were in an acute situation and mostly needed help stabilizing first. I have to say I prefer what I'm doing now to what I did the last few months; however I'll be back to working with adults this summer (this time in the critical care setting), so hopefully I will enjoy it more this time.


Aunt Michele said...

Excellent experiences Katie! Isn't it amazing to think of all the things you didn't know before! Now that you are learning and understanding what you are experiencing, it will make your own life that much more meaningful! Congratulations and God Bless you!

LA-jan said...

You are so right, Katie. There is a tremendous amount of teaching in pediatrics for that very reason yu pointed out. We also have rooming in in our ICU; can lead to more than a few stressful situations, but can be very rewarding, too. So glad for you that you are getting some really great experiences!

jennie said...

how long does this rotation last for?

Katie said...

Jennie - until May