Lena had always thought that she would take care of elderly people when she finished her training. Instead, she found herself working in the pediatric unit of the hospital with patients who are up to 18 years of age. Her general duties with her young patients weren’t much different from her duties with elderly patients; however, there were some parts of the job that were different and sometimes difficult.
On a recent shift, a nine-month-old who had been unresponsive since being admitted the night before was one of Lena’s patients on the unit. The doctors weren’t sure why the baby was unresponsive. Naturally, the parents were upset and wanted to know what was wrong and what the care team was doing to care for their child. During the middle of her shift, Lena was recording the baby’s vital signs and talking with the parents, who were sitting next to the crib, when the baby started having a seizure.
As the care team raced in and began to assess the problem, Lena’s job was to escort the terrified parents out into the waiting area. They were reluctant to leave, of course, but Lena calmly assured them that their child was receiving the very best care and that they could help by giving the team room to work with their baby. Lena stayed with the parents and helped them cope with the crisis by listening to their concerns until the doctor came out to explain what had happened; then she brought them back to their baby.
As Lena left the room, she heard enough to know that the baby had recovered from the seizure, but there were still many unknowns to help this baby return to good health and to his parents. Though Lena knew that working on the pediatrics unit could be emotionally stressful at times, she felt she could make a real difference for children and their parents by working there.