Lorraine has been a Paediatric Nurse at Little Bridge House for ten years.
I always imagined this to be such a rewarding job, but never realised just how much it would entail. Unlike some jobs, you cannot plan or assume what kind of shift you might have ahead of you; you could be taking a child out for a lovely sensory trip in the sunshine, giving their parents a well-deserved rest.
We may be involved with the symptom control of a child, who might have come in as an emergency visit to manage their pain, seizures or feeding issues. We may be accompanying young teenagers on their much looked-forward to shopping trip, or sadly we could be involved in keeping a child pain free as they near the end of their life.
"There is nothing more rewarding than being accepted into these families lives, where they face daily challenges and emotions, which many describe as a 'roller coaster journey"
The hardest part of being a hospice nurse, without a doubt, is the inevitable end of life experience. I often nurse a child at the end of life stage, that I may have known, along with the rest of the family, for a number of years. I feel a huge responsibility to keep their child comfortable and pain free, in order to give the family a relaxed environment to cherish their final days and hours together.
But it does not end there; after losing a child, we can spend the following days helping to make funeral arrangements, taking any additional and unnecessary stresses away. Quite often there may be unusual requests that we try and make happen, which could include horse drawn carriages or beautifully decorated coffins. Our bereavement support is on-going and is available for as long as the family need it.
Being a mother has made it even more apparent to me that there is nothing more rewarding than being accepted into these families lives, where they face daily challenges and emotions, which many describe as a ‘roller coaster journey’. So when people say ‘I don’t know how you do your job’, to me, as a nurse, it is an absolute privilege to be able to care for these children and families, and if I can continue to make any kind of difference to each one of them, I am honoured and know my job is so worthwhile.