In the hospital setting, it’s easy for doctors to steal the spotlight, but at Children’s National, nurses are an integral part of the care team. In honor of National Nurses Week, we reached out to several of our nurses who shared what they consider the most rewarding part of what they do.
Hugs from thankful patients
Linda Krespan, RN, an Emergency Department nurse, with 37 years of experience, said one of the most memorable experiences she’s had at Children’s National occurred when a fellow nurse told her that after an operation, one of her patients woke up, glanced at the nurse and “said ‘Linda’ with a huge smile on her face.”
“I had made such an impression before surgery while she was in the Emergency Department that she remembered me afterwards,” said Krespan. “But most of all, I always love the random hugs some children provide unconditionally before they leave the Emergency Department. This always brings a smile to my face.”
Celebrating milestones together
Reginald E. Bannerman, RN, MSN, MBA, NE-BC, beams as he speaks about the work of the nurses in the Child Psychiatry Unit, which generally serves children ages 4-17.
Bannerman, the unit’s Director of Nursing, said what he likes most about being a nurse is the “ability to spend time with patients” as they implement the interventions outlined by the treatment team, particularly encouraging children – such as those in the foster care system – who may not have relatives visiting them.
“We celebrate with them. Nurses on the unit care a lot,” he said before describing instances when some nurses have organized birthday celebration and brought gifts and watched over children in their care.
The resiliency of children
For Director of Outpatient Nursing and Ambulatory Services in Children’s National Heart Institute’s Jeanne Ricks, BSN, MS, RN, NE-BC, there isn’t one memorable clinical experience she’s had as a nurse.
“The one thing about nursing for me is that it is a string of memorable experiences. The resiliency of children is amazing. Even after an illness or surgery all they want to do is get up and play,” she said. “There is so much joy in watching children adapt and progress to be their best.”
She is also proud to have helped the hospital achieve its Magnet® nursing designation among professional achievements.
“Many nurses here wear a jacket at Children’s that says ‘Only in pediatrics can you save a lifetime.’ That happens every day and what pride it brings,” she said. “There is no separation of family from patient. When a loved one is ill the whole family has an emotional, spiritual tie or bond, they are a part of the best treatment plan. Even in the worst-case scenario, a family needs to feel everything was done with dignity, love and compassion.”
National Nurses Day, also known as National RN Recognition Day, is celebrated on May 6. It opens National Nurses Week, which ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale's birthday, according to the American Nurses Association website. May 12 is observed as International Nurse Day, the anniversary of the birth of Nightingale, founder of modern nursing.