Melissa is a Registered Nurse. Every shift, she tirelessly cares for sick children at the Pediatric Center of a hospital.
Nursing is one of many everyday occupations that has a huge impact on all our lives and is often thankless. So, today, we are taking a moment to recognize Melissa and learn a little about her life at work.
Melissa was kind enough to sit down with us and talk about her work as a RN, before heading out to a shift full of chart checking, assessing, charting, and recording—yes, you may have noticed there are a lot of charts and documentation!
AJ: What type of nursing do you practice?
Melissa: I am currently a Pediatric Registered Nurse. I have worked as a Pediatric RN for four years, and it is the only field of nursing I’ve worked in since graduating.
AJ: What made you decide to become a nurse?
Melissa: I have always been fascinated by the human body and medicine. During high school I took anatomy, physiology, and genetics classes because I was so interested in those subjects. I also volunteered as a Candy Striper in high school, and that was when I really decided to pursue a career in the medical field. At that time, I just didn’t know exactly what career I wanted. After being a Candy Striper and seeing how much interaction nurses have with their patients, I knew nursing was right for me.
AJ: What is your daily routine like?
Melissa: There are always some things that remain constant during my shifts. However, there is also a lot of variability! When I first arrive to my unit, I am given reports on all the patients I will be taking. After that, I look up the electronic medical records for medications I may need to give, check the doctor’s orders, look up lab work, and read the doctors and nurses’ notes. Then I go and assess my patients. Once I have finished assessing (and the chartings is done,) things can vary for each shift. I may need to call the doctor regarding the patient or provide discharge teaching for someone going home. There is also always the chance of getting an admission—that usually happens at least a few times every week. Newly admitted patients may come from the ER, doctor’s office, or from home. Since I work in a Pediatric Center, we also specialize in outpatient procedures for pediatric patients. This includes blood draws, sedations for CT scans/MRIs/EEGs, antibiotic administrations…and more! These can be scheduled or just pop up at any time through the shift. The shift just continues on and on. Reassessments occur later in the evening. Occasionally, if a parent is unable to stay I help with entertaining children or feeding infants. My shifts change every day, depending on the type of patient I am caring for. That is one of the things I love about nursing! No two days are ever the same!
AJ: Does your job present any hazards?
Melissa: I think every job has its hazards. Nursing does come along potential situations where hazards could occur. However, we take many extra precautions to prevent them. Some of the major ones that could happen are needle sticks after any kind of venipuncture/blood draw and exposure to bodily fluids and infectious diseases. We take extra precaution through the use of gloves, gowns, masks when appropriate and our standard procedures. If a needle stick does occur, there are procedures in place to hopefully prevent further harm. Some of the nurses in other units have the risk of exposure to radiation, chemotherapy agents, and combative patients. Those types of risks are generally minimized on the unit I work on.
AJ: What is the most rewarding things about your job?
Melissa: One of the most rewarding things about my job is honestly seeing the patients smile and laugh once they are feeling better. We sometimes see people when they are at their sickest and being in the hospital is never a fun place for anybody. We do our best to make it comfortable for our patients. When you care for a patient who is really sick on the day they get admitted, and then discharge them a few days later, happy and smiling, it is a very rewarding feelings. Kids are very resilient and some of the best patient populations to take care of. To know you made a difference (even if it was just a small one) in someone’s life is very rewarding.
AJ: What would you say to anyone interested in this line of work?
Melissa: I would say you won’t be disappointed by your career choice. Yes, some days are really hard and challenging, but in my four years of being a RN, I haven’t regretted my decision at all. I found this career to be very rewarding, and a very humbling experience overall. I wouldn’t want to work in any other career. Nursing school is not easy and some days this job can be very demanding both emotionally and physically. However, there are moments when you will sit back and realize “this moment” is why you chose this career and wouldn’t want to do anything else!