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Help for New Nurses

Is Pediatric Nursing for Me? An interview with a new grad working in a pediatric facility.

May 23, 2013

Hi Vivian, thank you for allowing me to interview you. Just to fill the readers in, you recently graduated nursing school and this is your first job. The facility you are working in is a step down pediatric nursing home. The population  you are working with spans from neonates just a few days old to young adults of twenty-one years. These children have disabilities ranging from down syndrome to those who require complete life support. If you could just tell us about how you found your current job, your schedule, as well as some of the skills you’ve picked up so far. How do you deal with your new stress and responsibilities?

This is my first nursing job, so it was very hard at the beginning because real life is not similar to nursing school clinicals! I was overwhelmed by all the meds that needed to be given at the same time. There were also many other tasks, like trach tie changes, renewal orders to be picked up, suctioning, catherizations, and charting that had to be done.

I have learned to prioritize all those things, and just take things slowly to make sure that I don’t make mistakes. I dealt with the stress by telling myself that it’s OK to be slower than everyone else, as long as I do things correctly. I resigned myself to the fact that I would be staying late past my shift in order to get everything done. I learned to be more organized, and with practice, my speed picked up with giving meds and other nursing skills. Now, I usually don’t need to stay later past my shift!

Thank you so much Vivian. Let me just ask you some other practical questions that the readers might be interested in.

What is the salary like in your kind of job?

Typically this kind of position pays around sixty thousand for those who work full time which includes thirteen twelve hour shifts a month. Per Diem here, I believe, is a little over forty-one hourly.

Who do you ask when you have questions?

I work in close proximity to my fellow nurses, so I’m really never alone should I need advice. In addition, there is a manager available for questions. Many of the more complicated procedures such as changing the trach collar are performed in pairs in case complications arise. But if I need to, I’ll ask everyone and anyone who I think would have the answer. I even ask CNA’s because they know the children very well.

Is it possible to turn your current job into a career?

Definitely. The home is run very well. This appears to be a very stable place.

Are there growth opportunities there?

I don’t think so because I don’t have a BSN. Also, the place is too small. There are not many supervisor positions.

How about down time?

Rarely. As a nurse there is always more I can do for my residents. I do get a chance to talk with the other nurses during breaks and other quiet moments though.

Will it be hard to leave if you get an offer at a hospital?

It would be very difficult to leave this facility. I like the other nurses and I’ve grown a strong bond with the children.

What’s the hardest part of your job?

I would say that the hardest part of my job is dealing with the CNA’s. There’s a fine line between  getting their respect and being  friendly so they like you.

Vivian R.

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