Caring for a sick child can be one of the most challenging yet rewarding roles there is for a healthcare professional. How does it differ from other specialisms? What are their challenges and what does it mean to be a paediatric nurse?
We are featuring Jackelyn, a Paediatric Nurse working for one of the NHS Trusts in the UK.
I am Jackelyn and I am a Paediatric Nurse working for the NHS since 2019. I started as a NICU nurse in the Philippines then became a PICU nurse in one of the private hospitals in Manila. After gaining some experience, I decided to try my luck in Saudi Arabia where I’ve work as a PICU nurse for 6 years. Then, I went back home, got married and had a child. I immediately decided to go back working in a hospital setting where I love most. But since I already have a family, I wanted to work in a place where we can really settle down. So I have taken the necessary tests and ended up here in the UK. I was fortunate enough to be working as a paediatric nurse again since I was one of the first overseas Paediatric nurse in the unit.
What’s your typical day like?
Our day shift starts at 07:30 with a general safety handover with all the nurses on duty on that shift. Followed by a patient handover with the nurse in charge of the Bay or room you are assigned to. I greet my patients and their parents (whoever it is with them at the bedside) and introduce myself. Whilst in the patient's room, I conduct bedside safety checks such as checking if the oxygen and suction is functioning well. I carry out the plans for the day and give the patient’s meds. We have two 30-minute breaks throughout the day, usually during midday and late afternoon. And then we handover again to the incoming shift at 19.30.
Why did you choose this area of nursing?
I love working with children. They can be brutally honest but they are also the sweetest creatures. When they thank you and give you compliments, you know that it's really heartfelt and true.
What does it mean to be a paediatric nurse?
Being a Paediatric nurse is like being a parent to children in days when they needed medical attention and help. Parents entrust us to take care of their child, attend to their needs, play with them, and be their advocates. We are competent to act as second parents to them even when the real parents are not around.
What are the challenges of being a paediatric nurse?
There are certain limitations being a paediatric nurse unlike in adult nursing. Urinary Catheterization, IV cannulation, venous blood extractions are some skills that is not normally done by nurses but are done by the doctors. Medications are also double checked and computed according to the child 's weight that's why getting the child’s weight is really important once patient is admitted.
What qualities and skills do a paediatric nurse should possess and acquire in the process?
Patience...lots and lots of patience. Children are not the easiest persons to administer medications. A worried panicky parent may also worsen the situation. You have to take care of both the parent and the child. Involving and updating the parents in the child’s care is essential to gain both of their trust. Thus, being more cooperative in the treatment process.
How were you able to get this job?
I applied through an agency in the Philippines. After passing the necessary tests, I applied and I was lucky enough to have a vacancy for Paediatric Nurses. Since my entire nursing experience is on paediatric nursing, I finally got the job. However, since my OSCE is adult based, I have to complete some competencies and e-learnings specific to Paediatric nursing whilst working in the unit.
Do you think you are making a difference as a nurse in this field? How?
Somehow, as one of the first overseas nurses in our unit, there is a certain urge to prove that Filipinos are globally competent and are able to cope really well even in the most stressful occasions. So far, they have positive feedbacks on how we are as nurses and that does help open the doors for hiring more Filipino nurses in the unit.
What are the benefits of working as a paediatric nurse?
Aside from the warm smiles from the kiddos, being able to help a child get better is very rewarding. For me, working in the paediatric department is more stressful than the adult area. Aside from looking after a child, you are also looking after the parent’s wellbeing. But the bonus is you also get twice the gratitude. Twice the stress, twice the fun!
How would you convince other nurses to consider a role in paediatrics?
If you like children and interacting with families, I encourage you to join the paediatric team. Also, there are loads of opportunities if you would like to upskill with your career in this area of nursing. If you are a nurturing and loving person, paediatric nursing is for you.
About the Author:
Jackelyn is a Paediatric Nurse working in one of the NHS Trusts in the UK.
She has worked in the Philippines and Saudi Arabia prior moving to the UK. She is a wife and a mother of a lovely toddler.