Nurse A, RN is a pediatric emergency nurse and a mom of two who shares her experience as a nurse on TikTok as @nurse.a. She gets her moxie from her children who always keeps her on her toes as well as from her patients who are resilient and inspiring.
Tell us a little bit about what you do?
Nurse A: I'm a pediatric emergency nurse. As soon as I graduated from nursing school, I went straight into the pediatric emergency room. I've worked in two different hospitals and I've been a nurse for nine years this summer.
What did your path to nursing look like?
Nurse A: I always wanted to be a nurse ever since I can remember. It was either nursing or I wanted to dig up dinosaur bones. In America, I don't think there's a big need for that so I went down the nursing path. I had to take a year off from school after high school because I wanted to go to a private college. My parents were kind of against it since they knew it was going to be expensive. They didn't want to fill out the paperwork for me. Being stubborn, I refused to apply anywhere else and ended up having to take a year off. I then applied to a two-year nursing program. In the meantime, I got certified to draw blood in the hospitals and worked until the program started. It was just a two-year diploma nursing program and as soon as I graduated, I just went right to work. I later got my bachelor's online.
Why pediatric nursing?
Nurse A: There was one instance when I was about five. I broke my arm and it was a horrible experience. It always stuck with me. I ended up going to an adult hospital because that was the only hospital in my area. They did the best that they could, but it was very traumatic as a kid. This started my interest into the medical world. I had a doctor kit and would make my stuffed animals feel better. As I got older, there were different instances where my friends would get hurt with scraped knees and the like. I instantly just wanted to help clean their wounds and wrap them up. As far as pediatrics, I didn't even know I wanted to go into pediatrics until I started doing all of my clinicals in school. I was able to do a clinical in pretty much every area of nursing just about. I was actually getting pretty discouraged because it didn't feel like anything felt right. When we did our peds rotation and I instantly knew this is where I want to work.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted your role?
Nurse A: It's been very interesting in the pediatric realm because it seems like we almost have like a bubble around us. We have not had the volume of COVID patients as everybody else. We now have to fully garb up for everything. Typically, we usually just wear our standard precautions. This is hard in pediatrics because now we look even scarier to kids than we ever did before. Now we have masks, helmets, all this stuff on.
For peds, we've seen a lot of secondary issues more than the initial COVID infection. We've been seeing a lot of MISC which is a multi-inflammatory issue that's been happening. So, for us, we now kind of have to gear all of our thinking to wondering if something is a secondary effect from COVID. The whole pandemic has been very stressful on everyone and I constantly have the fear that I'm bringing something home to my family. It’s been stressful. Nurses and other frontline workers are facing tremendous stress.
You mentioned you have two young children, how do you balance being a mom and a nurse?
Nurse A: It can be difficult. It's definitely a lot different when you have kids, as opposed to when I started nursing and I didn't. I was always affected by things happening at work and the world, but it feels different now. Coping wise, I try to keep everything that happens at work, at work. I try not to dwell or talk about anything at home so that I can just focus on them and try to have good days and positivity when I'm not at work.
What do you do to de-stress?
Nurse A: My kids love to be outside. It's finally getting warmer, so we are always outside. I like to plant flowers and I like to garden. We like to do puzzles, coloring, reading, that kind of stuff. I love to read.
What do you like to read?
Nurse A: I feel like I'm all over the map. I love books like Harry Potter and crime books. The last book I read was “Spilled Milk”. That was a really good book. It was based on a true story. Anything James Patterson or Mary Higgins Clark.
What gives you moxie?
Nurse A: My kids keep me going at home. They are the center of my world and they definitely keep me on my toes. They give me my moxie for sure. At work, I get my moxie from the kids that we take care of. They are so resilient. It's amazing to see our patients that we give tough diagnoses to. We see them come back time and time again. It's just amazing to see them thrive.
What advice do you have for other nurses or people looking to become a nurse?
Nurse A: Don't give up. It's a hard path to take but it’s definitely worth it in the end. Keep trying to have determination. If you can't get into the certain area that you want to right away, don't give up. We have tons of nurses in peds that come from different areas that didn't start in the specialty.
As far as the nurses that are still fighting the good fight, just keep going. There's some light at the end of the tunnel. We're definitely seeing lower cases of COVID-19 and there's definitely an end in sight.