For anyone who has a child, especially a child living with an illness or condition that requires frequent medical attention, visits to the hospital can become a little too routine. These visits are stressful enough considering you have to worry about your child’s health, but delays in wait times and dealing with a number of different people can add to the stress and sometimes cause frustration. As someone who has had to deal with many of these medical settings and the associated staff, I would like to pass on some things I learned about the pediatric medical setting in general, in hopes of providing new parents with a little bit of guidance.
Unfortunately, if your child’s medical problem isn’t overly urgent, you will likely have to wait. This being said, if you are at your local children’s hospital, the staff there will do everything they can to get you in as quickly as possible. I remember once instance when my stress just boiled over and I became vocally frustrated with the wait time, as it appeared no one else had urgent problems. Admittedly, I was wrong, and to this day I still feel bad about calling out staff who had no control over the issue. One thing I neglected to consider was the condition of each child already admitted into a bed. The staff, whether it be doctors, nurses, or technicians, all are spread out across many patients, so juggling their needs and unexpected issues can create havoc on their end. These are truly great people that want to do their best for you, so if you need to wait, there is likely an issue for it.
The staff, whether it be doctors, nurses, or technicians, all are spread out across many patients, so juggling their needs and unexpected issues can create havoc on their end. These are truly great people that want to do their best for you, so if you need to wait, there is likely an issue for it. If you do need to wait, just be patient and continue to monitor your child’s health. If their condition becomes worse, for sure, definitely let someone know, and you will be attended to as soon as possible.
Many people don’t understand that nurses are not just assistants or caretakers. Furthermore, pediatric nurses often have a different skill set than those involved in adult care. While they likely have experience in both, I personally know some pediatric nurses who specialize in that domain and are extremely knowledgeable, especially in a hospital setting. Pediatric nurses have more experience with child patient comfort, pediatric dosages for medications, as well as conditions which are more prevalent in children.
Pediatric nurses may also have access to more specialized equipment that caters to children. For example, pediatric stethoscopes are different from standard stethoscopes in that they can usually pick up fainter sounds. Friendly-looking instruments, smaller devices, and medication already catered to delivery into children all help make the job easier. Therefore, don’t write-off the nurse attending to your child if you are stressed or frustrated about something. If you have concerns, the nurse attending to your child will definitely want to hear them, just don’t immediately blame them for something that could be out of their control. They are highly stressed and doing everything they can to help your child.
When (Not) to Help
If tests or simple procedures are being performed on your child, often times these can be done while you are in the room as well. Many parents prefer this, which is totally understandable, and sometimes encouraged. However, just be respectful of the protocols involved. Many parents are over-eager to help and may make the process take longer or be a little more difficult for the children. Kids are fairly astute, and they can feed off their parents’ emotions. Therefore, we suggest simply asking the doctor or nurse if there is anything you can do to help make the process easier. Maybe they will be very grateful for some help delivering medication or holding your child while a test or injection is being performed. On the other hand, maybe they find it easier to do so without extra hands. In any case, they are medical professionals, so just be open with you discussion, both discussing your needs and wants while respecting hospital policy.
These are just a few pieces of information about pediatric nurses and the setting they work in. They common theme here is to simply be reasonable. Nurses are not responsible for controlling wait times or altering hospital policy, so while they will be happy to field your concerns, long waits just aren’t their fault. Rather, the sole purpose of their job is to look after your child, so please consider that when interacting with a pediatric nurse. They may appreciate your help at times, and other times, they may simply find it easier to work without extra hands, but having an open and friendly relationship with your nurse can be the easiest way to figure out the best approach to keeping your child healthy.