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ADVANCE Perspective: Nurses

More Compassionate Than a Fifth Grader?

Published March 20, 2009 2:50 PM by Linda Jones
This is the nurse I want for all children, and even for myself.

When I grow up I want to be a pediatric nurse because I love children. I'll comfort children in their time of pain. I'll also show up to work 15 - 20 minutes early to see every one of my patients.
When my shift is coming to an end, I'll go to each one of my patients' rooms and tell them goodbye and that I will see them tomorrow.

I'm hoping to get my  4-year degree at West Virginia University. I'm hoping to work as a pediatric nurse at Wheeling Hospital. These are all the reasons I want to be a pediatric nurse.

Raeann Lahita, a fifth grader from The Follansbee Middle School, Follansbee, WV, wrote this essay as part of a contest (she was one of 15 winners out of 1,800 entries). Like the TV game show, Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, nurses should test their level of compassion against Lahita's.

I know. She hasn't worked a 12-hour shift, she's never been saddled with paperwork, she's not stressed about the economy. But despite all that, can't we hope, or even expect, nurses, pediatric or otherwise, to at least want to come in early to check on their patients and want to assure them that they'll see each other the next day?

What has to happen in nursing to assure that people like Lahita can keep their passion for nursing and their compassion for patients alive?

I know it can start with simply treating each other better. Last week our top Web story, Undermining to Underpinning, talked about how nurses treat each other, especially new nurses. The article had more than comments from nurses, many of whom told horror stories of preceptors and co-workers who almost chased them out of nursing.

I sure hope this is fixed before Lahita gets her first job.


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