Nurses are an integral part of running a hospital. Recently I was talking with a few people about how we would rather see a Nurse Practitioner than a Physician’s Assistant. There is one group of nurses that stand out more to me than any other. Nurses that support children with mental health challenges. Nurses who make the choice to work on the children’s floor of psychiatric hospitals. They are the ones who clean the messes, dispenses the medications, calms the fears, and manages the constant crisis situations that can occur. The added challenge they face as nurses is that their patients can be as young as 7 or 8 years old.
One of my children has struggled with depression and had to be hospitalized in the early morning hours when most people are still sleeping. Emotionally and physically exhausted, we met the intake nurse and she was calm, professional and provided as much reassurance that she could. We are all protective of our children, so as you can imagine, my fear of leaving my child in the care of anyone during such a vulnerable time was through the roof. I can tell you first hand the love and care that these gentle folks were able to offer our entire family during that time. During our 1 hour visit time each day, all we were able to do is sit together in a shared space to talk or play board games. The board games were one of the few distractions for the kids when not in therapy sessions with staff. It was this simple distraction that allowed her and sisters to feel a little more at ease in a sterile environment. However, since the children cycle in and out of the hospital, the games are not generally intact.
For our random act of kindness, we wanted to provide the nurses on the children’s floor with something that would be useful. We purchased a selection of hospital approved board games and card games. We also wanted to show our appreciation to the staff and gave them $5 Starbucks Gift Cards. I wasn’t allowed to deliver the packages to the children’s floor in person and had to drop off the packages at the main front desk. The receptionist was slightly prickly and confused at why I would be doing this. I explained why I was doing it and also gave her a gift card in appreciation for her work because she has to interact with every single person that walks through the door, of which no one wants to be there. She smiled. It’s a small token – just a cup of coffee. A simple Thank You. Everyone deserves to be appreciated.
– Jim Begley