• Atieno Orodo

A Stint in Paediatrics

Updated: Aug 13


If you follow this blog, by now you know I'm a Jack of all trades on a safari to finding my mastery.


My experience in paeds was short and intense. Like everyone else, I love babies and children and if you don't, you should get checked. But sometimes love is problematic.


Love means you become attached. It means you don't want to see the other person suffering. And it means letting go can wreck your soul.


In my short stint in pediatrics I worked in NICU. Many of the admissions we had were preterm babies. Preemies born after 24 weeks can survive in high income countries. In low income countries up to 50% of babies born before 32 weeks will not survive due to of lack basic facilities to ensure adequate warmth, breastfeeding, infection prevention and management of breathing problems (WHO).


However, African countries like Kenya, are continuously working on improving maternal and child health which form the bigger burden of all the health problems. Introduction of programs like Kangaroo Mother Care units is improving preemie outcomes through the simple act of skin to skin nursing of babies.


In any part of the globe caring for a preterm baby usually demand a long hospital stay. This is where the trouble begins.


When you nurse the same baby everyday you can't but develop a bond. You know when they are hungry. You watch them smile. You give them those tiny delicate baths and before you know it you are in too deep.


As usual in hospital, things sometimes go wrong. After weeks of nursing this beautiful chubby baby girl, one day she just deteroriated and died. I had developed a deep bond with her and I kept wondering what could have been done differently. What I could have done.


I started doubting my skills and competence. I also started wondering how I'd cope in this field. Such feelings don't always go way on their own. I spoke to my in charge at that point who listened and referred me to see the hospital psychiatrist.


On a positive note, I learnt some good skills like how to communicate with relatives, how to bleed tiny babies and how to care for a newborn (a skill I shall gladly apply a few years from now). Not forgetting that I can set up a CPAP machine.


Paediatric Nursing is not the easiest of them all. From calculating dosages to very tiny veins to anxious parents to how delicate babies are, you can't run out of challenges. Despite this, some nurses really enjoy this speciality and thrive in it.


If you are a young nurse like me don't give up on finding you interest. Accept when things are not working and learn how to cope with the tough times at work.


As for me, my affair with paeds is over. For good.

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