I am beginning to think that my office was very strategically placed. Here I sit, perched outside the two patient screening rooms at the Children’s Specialty Center at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital. Not a day goes by that I do not overhear multiple heartwarming, silly, and just downright hysterical conversations between children and their caregivers. If I had a dime for every time I listened to a nurse or medical assistant negotiate with a toddler to get them to stand on the scale or hold their arm still for a blood pressure reading, I would be very wealthy woman! And I have to tell you, there are some people that have amazing negotiating skills! There have been times where I have even thought to myself, “Hey that does sound fun! Maybe I will go stand on the scale myself! Move over kiddo, it is my turn! …Not!”
As the Nurse Supervisor and Educator at Children’s Specialty, and as a pediatric nurse for almost 17 years, I have come in contact with hundreds of nursing students. Yes, showing them proper sterile technique for a procedure and assuring they can give an IM injections are all important skills to know and teach. However, the best piece of advice I can give anyone that wants to pursue a career in Pediatrics……go to the Dollar Store! Before your first day on the job, go to the store and purchase a roll of various stickers, a bottle of bubbles, and a pinwheel. Those, my friend, are the tools for a successful career.
Someday I am going to write my version of, “All the Things They Don’t Teach You in Nursing School.” I must have missed the class on “Humbling Dances and Silly Songs to Assist you through an IV Start.” Maybe UVM does not offer “RN Magic: Using the Skill of Illusion to Remove a Wound Dressing Quickly”?
Really, how many people can honestly say that on any given day at work, they might find themselves singing show tunes to help distract while a toddler receives a nebulizer treatment, then help hold an infant during a sedated procedure, only to walk out of the room and be summoned to sing, cheer, and march with enthusiasm for a child being presented with his “Off Chemotherapy” celebration cake? All in a day’s work – and I would not change it for the world!
With more than 15 pediatric specialties seeing patients all in one common space, there is never a dull moment at Children’s Specialty Center. Sometimes it feels like a college dorm. Remember those days of living in a very small space with all different kinds of individuals, while everyone did their own thing, rushing to various classes to support their perspective major? You never knew exactly what everyone was doing, but at the end of the day, you shared a common space, you respected that you were all working towards the same goal, and you had a blast getting there! That pretty much sums up the CSC: a group of wonderfully gifted people, working hard to assure excellent care for the children of our community, and having a lot of fun doing it!
Kylee Trottier is a nurse supervisor and educator at the Children’s Specialty Center at the University of Vermont Children’s Hospital at the UVM Medical Center.