A hospital stay is an entirely different experience for a young child than it is for an adult. It takes a special kind of nursing to provide treatment for an ill and often frightened infant or toddler, all the while taking the extra steps to make sure they feel comforted and safe.
The Society of Pediatric Nursing (SPN) recognized the week of October 9 through 15 as National Pediatric Nurses Week. Shore Memorial joined the SPN in honoring the approximately 14 nurses who provide care for some of the hospital’s youngest patients.
Sally Carr, RN, MSN, APN-C, has been a staff nurse with Shore Memorial’s Pediatric Unit for two and a half years, in addition to serving as a clinical educator for the hospital’s Maternity Unit.
“Treating children is very different from treating adults,” Carr said. “Infants, for example, are unable to verbalize what is wrong with them. You have to pick up cues from the baby as to what could be the problem. And with older children, they are scared because the hospital is a strange place.”
Shore Memorial’s Pediatric Unit was designed with these concerns in mind. The walls are painted with colorful murals of storefronts and made to resemble the Ocean City Boardwalk. There is also a fully-stocked playroom with activities for children of all ages and a family room for parents.
The nurses also do what they can to make their young patients more comfortable.
“We also wear colorful tops which help us warm up to the kids,” Carr says. “This makes them more comfortable with enables us to more accurately evaluate them.”
A large part of pediatric nursing is working with worried parents as well as children.
“Parents don’t know what to expect, especially if it’s their first child,” Carr says. “I love being able to help parents by teaching them about well child care, treating their children when they are sick at home and planning their care when they come to the hospital.”
Shore Memorial’s young patients and families also benefit from the hospital’s affiliation with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. CHOP doctors are on site at Shore Memorial 24 hours a day, every day to provide care for children ranging from newborns to teens.
“Our nurses are passionate about taking care of the patients who come here,” said Jody Brady, assistant nurse manager of Pediatrics at Shore Memorial. “It’s not just the children. They are taking care of entire families as well.”