Love the Parents

Love the Parents

I volunteered to be on a panel of parents for the Nurse Residency training at our local children’s hospital. It’s a great program, all of the nurses are required to go through an 8 week rotation of all of the different departments so not only do they get familiar with the different areas and can fill-in when needed, but they can also find the area of the hospital that they prefer to work in.

On the last day, right before graduation, the instructors have a small group of parents come in, introduce themselves and share some stories about their experiences with nurses. Initially I wasn’t sure what to say but thankfully my husband helped me work through some thoughts and some stories and I think what we put together is worth sharing. It’s general advice to nurses but throughout I include our favorite nurse stories.

This will be the first of a couple posts where I share my favorite nurse stories and what we can learn from them.

The first thing I asked the nurses to do when it was my turn to talk was to love the parents. I followed with this story.

When Dylan was born the Neonatal doctor mention that she most likely had Holoprosencephaly, when we stopped him and asked “what was that word again?” we were told “Oh, it’s just a big word that means lots of things.” (cue gasp from the audience of nurses!) And being the over-whelmed new parents we just accepted that answer. About a week later we got a new nurse in to take care of Dylan in the NICU and she said “Now did they ever confirm if she has Holoprosencephaly?” That word again… we asked her to write it down for us and she happily wrote it on a post it.

We promptly went home and Googled which is the worst thing you could possibly do… ever. Her diagnosis can be all over the board from not compatible to life to near fully functioning depending on how the brain was affected. She definitely had the facial characteristics associated with the diagnosis, so we assumed it to be true and started the grieving process.

So… needless to say, we freaked out.

We went back to the hospital and requested to talk to the doctor, we had no idea what this meant and because it was so varied, we didn’t have a clue what it meant for Dylan. When we had gotten back to the hospital, the nurse called for the doctor and we were told that she wasn’t available. The doctor told the nurse that she thought we already knew and had already talked to a doctor about it, but alas… was still too busy to come talk to us.

We were on our own.

The next time that we saw the nurse that had originally inquires about Dylan’s diagnosis, she had more information. She had taken it upon herself to gather information about the diagnosis, to read about it, and to be able to talk with us about it. Not specific to Dylan of course (I think that’s still up in the air after six years!) but in general. She wanted to learn and be able to have a conversation with us when she knew we needed someone in the medical field to talk to.

She offered us what she had collected.

She actually cared about us and wanted to make sure that our needs as parents were being met. We felt like she really cared about us and was trying to do what she could to relieve the burden of this new overwhelming diagnosis. What a great example of what to do for over-whelmed person. I feel like she did what she would want someone to do in the same situation.

Do you have a favorite nurse story to share about when you felt like they genuinely loved and cared about you, the parent of a child in the hospital? I would love to collect more examples and I think the nurses will find it helpful. If so, post a comment!

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