Pediatric Nursing: Treating the Family

Pediatric Nursing: Treating the Family

When nurses think of going into pediatric nursing, they often think of working with a specific age in the wide range of newborn baby to 18-year-old young adult. But what many might not realize is how working with a child also includes working closely with a family as well. In fact, when pediatric nurses think of caring for a patient, they consider the care of the family as part of the whole child, says Shirley Wiggins, PhD, RN, president of the Society of Pediatric Nurses.

As families have evolved to range from the traditional family of a mom and dad with kids, today’s family structure takes on a whole new shape. It can include same gender parents, grandparents as primary caregivers, parents living together or apart, foster parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and even close friends who comprise the family unit.

So while pediatric nurses tend to the needs of the child, they also remain mindful of the emotions and experiences of the child’s family. “Education is a critical point with families, and it’s what they need,” says Wiggins. But not all families are ready for specific information at the same time. A pediatric nurse’s job includes being able to read a family’s readiness. “What is the capacity of that child and that family both developmentally and at that time,” says Wiggins.

When families have information, they can help support the child even more, and pediatric nurses are there to help them through that process. “You see how powerful the family is in our society,” says Wiggins. “In difficult times, you see how amazing they are. They dig deep.”

Although Wiggins says many pediatric nurses come right from nursing school, there are many who choose the field during a mid-career change. Wiggins says it’s often the call of working with children and in partnership with families that draw nurses in. “Sometimes what drives it is they encounter a family and a child speaks to them,” she says.

Wiggins says no matter where you are coming from in your career, it helps to have an open mind when you think about how you would fit into a pediatric nursing position. “Be open to the that fact that each family is unique,” she says. “Be flexible to just listen.” Families and children often come as one unit, so pediatric nurses see the whole picture.

Thanksgiving Day Guide

Thanksgiving Day Guide

Happy Thanksgiving! Today is marked by family reunions, gratitude and reflection. It can also be a day of incredible stress with high expectations and tension with some relatives. To help you make the most of the holiday, use this appropriately named list as a guide.

Heal family rifts. Release grudges and move beyond hard feelings. It’s time.

Accept your imperfections. Doing so will help you accept shortcomings in others.

Practice restraint. Keeping the peace sometimes requires remaining silent.

Pay it forward by helping someone you typically overlook.

Yell out compliments. Catch your family and friends off guard with praise.

Take time to listen. Sometimes what is not said requires a conversation.

Hug loved one like you mean it. You may not get another chance.

Ask those around you to share three reasons they feel grateful. Go first.

Notice new faces and make them feel welcome and connected.

Keep the day positive with an optimistic mindset. Give negative thoughts the day off.

Share family traditions and stories with children and teens.

Give thanks all day long.

Indulge, but get back on track with healthy eating and exercise tomorrow.

Value the people you spend time with on this holiday. Let them know how you feel.

Invite loved ones you only see during the holiday back more often. Ink in dates.

Nap. It’s okay. Really.

Giggle. Find 100 reasons to smile and laugh with family and friends.

Did you do anything on this list [which can be used anytime]? How did you celebrate the holiday? Let us know.

Robin Farmer is a freelance writer with a focus on health, education and business. Visit her at


Effective Communication Starts with “I”

Effective Communication Starts with “I”

Despite what your English teacher told you, sometimes starting every sentence with “I” is a really great way of getting your point across. At work, the well-known, but difficult to do “I statement” is an effective communication tool that can help others listen to you even if you are delivering not-so-great news.

The “I statement” just helps you re-frame your point so your message comes out as nonthreatening, but clear. For example, if your coworker just misplaced a chart, instead of angrily saying, “Why did you do that?” you can say “I felt really panicked when I couldn’t find that chart because I needed it.” The message – don’t move my charts – is the same, but the delivery is very different.

Many experts talk about using “I statements” in all our relationships – family, friends, and co-workers included . It might take a little longer and be hard to get out when you are irritated, but re-framing what you have to say will help your interactions down the road. An “I statement” helps say what you mean in a manner that is not aggressive, not blaming, and not threatening so the other person is more likely to listen and cooperate.

When the person you are addressing doesn’t go on the defensive because of your words, your conversation takes on a calmer tone. And an “I statement” doesn’t mean you are taking the blame, it just means you are not directly blaming the other person. Even if they deserve your angry words, getting into an argument at work won’t help anything and will probably just introduce conflict.

What about the superior who complained about you in front of a patient or a co-worker? What you want to blurt out is, “You jerk! Did you really have to say that?” But if you take a deep breath, wait until you are out of hearing range of everyone else, and say, “I feel embarrassed when you talk about my work with others because I think I do a good job. Can we discuss problems in private?”

The “I statement” approach requires a lot more control on your part, but the resulting conversation will probably be calmer and more effective. Using an “I statement” takes practice, so be aware of using them in varied situations (try them at home, too) and see if they make a difference.