I might be a nurse but I still dread my child’s doctor visits

I remember taking my daughter to the clinic to have her injections done when she was about 6 months old. She was still breastfeeding and I had it all set out in my mind how it was going to happen.

When it came time for her needles, I said to the nurse, ‘I’ll just breastfeed her while you do this.’

To my surprise, she scolded me telling me that I wasn’t allowed to as my daughter ‘might choke’. From my experience, breastfeeding during a painful procedure was encouraged but I’d been living in Papua New Guinea for two years at the time and felt a little out of my game.

She had offered no warning to me or my daughter, just jab! and it was done. My daughter was squealing and I felt so disempowered I was lost for words.

I was very upset with her tone of voice and lack of eye contact. I would have loved to work with her to find a way of approaching the injection that was mutually acceptable. I wanted to comfort my daughter in the best way I knew how but this nurse was set in her ways. 

Before I knew it, the needle was in my daughter’s leg. She had offered no warning to me or my daughter, just jab! and it was done. My daughter was squealing and I felt so disempowered I was lost for words.

It’s in the ways that you approach them that matters

I may be a paediatric nurse but when I’m taking my kids to the doctor for a wellness visit, I’m just like any other parent who worries about how it might all go.

There is so much one can worry about like will we have to wait for a long time? Or will the kids be cooperative? Or how will I explain what’s going on to my kids as we move through the consult?

But the biggest thing that worries me?

Will the nurse and doctor be patient and listen?

I don’t want them to just listen to me but to listen to my daughters and give them an opportunity to speak about how they would like their care to be delivered.

I know what family centred care looks like but I have rarely seen it in action and my daughter’s injection story is a good example of this lack of family centred care. It’s not the fault of the nurse or doctor working with us because you only know what you know, right?

I have to admit, I definitely do not go to that clinic for injections anymore and I still feel resentment and hurt towards this nurse whenever I think of her or see her. I know she was just doing her job in the best way that she knew how but for me that day, it just wasn’t what I need nor wanted.

Compassionate Care starts with YOU

When I am working with families, I make it my priority to ensure that they are empowered. The children are given a voice and a choice in how they receive their care.

It is so important that we give children positive experiences when they visit especially during their wellness visits because it’s during these moments of contact that they form their opinions on medical and nursing staff in general.

When you deliver care that considers the child through every step – from the way the waiting room is set up to the way their care is delivered and how their big feelings are dealt with and more- you’re setting the child up for a better healthcare future.

Shani Thornton from Child Life Mommy

I was lucky enough to spend time with Shani Thornton from Child Life Mommy the other day to pre-record her webinar, ‘Compassionate Care during Wellness Visits’. Shani’s information about how we can make simple and cost-effective changes to the environment as well as in how we prepare our patients and deliver their care was so simple that any nurse, anywhere could do it.

Can you imagine a future where we stop talking about child-centred care and actually do it?

Can you imagine how many children would be more cooperative and less stressed when they visit you?

How would this impact on your stress levels at work?

Watch Shani’s webinar and earn CPD/CE for your time

If you want to see how you can make small changes at work, join our growing community of nurses making a difference in the lives of their patients and families today.

You can watch Shani’s webinar recording anytime for the next two years when you join with a membership or purchase a once-off ticket.

I cannot wait to see you on the other side xxx

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