This was our last week of pediatrics, the final as well as rotations. Our clinical instructor had given us index cards at the beginning of the semester and asked us to write down our thoughts on the upcoming rotation. I jotted down my hesitations and concerns, as I’m all about older adults and not keen on dealing with children. Will they listen to me? How can they express what they’re feeling? Will I have enough patience? Images of screaming children and temper tantrums haunted my mind. Even more daunting was the thought of dealing with adolescents. We all remember what it was like to be in junior high/high school, right? Two words to sum up adolescence: Bad Attitude. Last year I worked at a program for inner city teens. After only a month and a half, I quit and swore off dealing with anyone between the ages of 12 and 17.
One of the things I love most about life is the way the tides can change and suddenly, you find yourself in a completely different place than you had anticipated. Oh life, it is an adventure! Yesterday our clinical instructor gave us back our original index cards, and it was eye-opening to see the words I had scrawled, to see how much my feelings had changed in just seven weeks.
I had already touched upon this last winter after shadowing a pediatric NP, but after spending half a semester with “little people,” I can say this with experienced conviction: I like pediatric nursing. I cannot say whether I will actually pursue a career in it, but I would be okay if I somehow stumbled into this specialty. As I stated above, learning new things–about myself, as well as human beings–observing myself grow–what a joy! I love it! There were definitely times when my patience was tried by whining 7-year-olds refusing to take their medications, defiant 2-year-olds throwing food at me, or obstinate 14-year-olds firing off smart-alec responses to my questions. But all in all, it was tolerable, and playing and cuddling with the younger cute little critters made up for any wearisome ordeals.
Our clinical group, I believe, had a good time on this unit. There seemed to be at least one child each one of us wanted to steal away. We would “fight” over a particular child each week whom we wanted to care for (patients often stay on this unit for weeks, months, years). I particularly bonded with one 20-month-old, whom I took care of for at least three weeks. Cute as a button! I will miss her.
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of pediatrics–at least on our unit–was ultimately not the children, but seeing the suspected abuse patients and those whose mothers drank and used drugs during their pregnancies. The helplessness and heartache I felt watching the infants struggle with withdrawal, developmental delays–which were not their fault. My mind fills with angry judgments, but I don’t need to entertain them.
This leads into next week, when obstetrics (OB) starts. This represents new challenges for me. I can handle staring at vaginas all day (although not a burning desire), but dealing with mothers who are abusing their bodies and their babies’ health with substances, alcohol, junk food, etc.–that will be the most troublesome. I pray for the power to remain compassionate. There are reasons for why people are the way they are and unfortunately, we can’t protect all the innocent people in the world. What I need most is compassion for the mothers who are perpetrating these wrongdoings, these mothers who for some unknown reason don’t know any better because their past is probably damaged as well. Compassion and education are the tools that can make the difference. Hopefully I will be able to make an iota of a difference to some people’s lives during this next rotation. Stay tuned for my final report in seven weeks.
In the meanwhile, in the spirit of Halloween and pediatrics I found this pic online and have to just say as a Star Wars fan, this is fab! I can’t wait to have a little boy so that I can dress him up in this! Chewie power! Rawwarraa!