It’s time for children’s nurses to be recognised

Recently, I attended a conference to celebrate nursing. I reflected on the celebrations and realised the conference was dedicated to adult nursing, with parts relating to learning disability and mental health.

Throughout the day I was waiting for recognition for children’s nurses – it never happened. Therefore, I decided to write a blog thanking all of the paediatric staff I’ve worked with.

My first nursing placement was school nursing. I thought this would be the occasional ice pack to a bumped head, but how wrong I was.

School nurses provide sex education, developmental support, training and immunisation programmes. From this placement, I remember a 15-year-old boy who struggled with anger, which affected his school work. The nurse and I met with him to discuss ways to manage this. The nurse showed compassion and huge empathy. I want to thank this nurse – for teaching me that empathy is one of the best skills to have.

On the general children’s ward where I had a placement, there is a playroom. The play specialists wanted to improve the facilities and managed to raise £250,000 through their own fundraising. The playroom is now 55% larger and includes a teenage area, a sensory space, a separate play area for children with low immunity and a lounge area. Although this is only one playroom in one hospital, they made a difference. I’d like to thank the play specialists and nurses on the ward for showing me that determination and hard work pays off.

My third placement was community nursing. It is heart-warming to see a child receiving care in their own home. One patient they looked after was a 14-year-old girl with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She was recovering well, but was in a low mood for the majority of the time. The nurses would visit her to do weekly blood tests, but they always took the time to talk to her and ensured she was okay with all aspects of her health. I’d like to say thank you to the nurses for showing me that patience and holistic care are vital nursing skills.

I also had a placement on children’s day services. There was a patient who came in for regular blood transfusions and had a huge fear of needles. She never found it any easier when she came for treatment. The nurses communicated with her brilliantly, explaining the procedure, listening to her concerns and then discussing a solution. I’d like to thank the nurses for showing me that communication is essential.

My most recent placement was at a neonatal unit. Babies born from 26 weeks could be admitted. I followed a baby from birth to discharge. She was born at 26 weeks in poor condition. She spent nine weeks on the unit and was then discharged to the neonatal outreach team who provide home support. It was incredible to watch her get stronger. The nurses were fantastic and focused hugely on family-centred care. Thank you to the nurses for showing me that competency, compassion and simply care are wonderful skills to have.

I can honestly say that the nurses I worked with displayed the 6Cs in everything they did. The media seems to focus only on the times the 6 Cs aren’t followed. I have been privileged to work with extremely positive role models. I pledge to carry this forward in my own nursing career.

Read more about Compassion in Practice, including the 6Cs, at the Department of Health website

About the author

Hannah Robinson is a second-year nursing student at the University of Hertfordshire studying children’s nursing. She is on Twitter @haanaahx.