I know that the title of the post probably seems slightly obvious, but hear me out.
When someone finds out what I do for a living, the first question I'm usually asked is "How can you do that?" followed quickly by "Isn't it hard to see kids so sick?". My answer is always the same - kids are amazingly resilient. I learned that from day 1 of my new grad orientation. I have taken care of so many sick kids (over 150 different kids, I would think) in the past year and a half and can count on two hands the number who have passed away for one reason or another. The days that it does happen though it usually hit me hard and I have to remind myself how many more children have come on to the unit so very sick and have left our unit in days, weeks, or even months healthy, normal children. So often, kids can come back from almost anything.
My first night back after vacation, though, was not one of those - it was an extremely difficult shift. Without going in to details, I'll just say that everyone did everything right and we worked extremely hard to save a patient who did not make it. Since I have started on the unit, there has never been a situation that I have noticed hit all of us so intensely - doctors, nurses, pharmacists, social workers, chaplains, families of other children on the unit - everyone. And I feel very lucky to work on the unit that I do. I work with an incredible group of people and we are lucky to have one another as well.
When I was a doula, a midwife once told me that the day she was no longer amazed by the miracle of birth, she would stop doing her job. On the same token, if ever there comes a day that I am not affected by the work that I do (either in a good or bad way), I need to find another job. We are given a very special opportunity to come in to a patient and family's life at a time when they are most in need of a helping hand. We nurse not just physical, but emotional aspects as well, and in turn that can affect us. And I truly hope that it always affects me. Even after the craziest day, I can come home and tell Mike about something that happened and how amazed I am at children and their ability to bounce back.
So back to the title of my post - hug your children, tell them you love them, and be so thankful for who they are. If had one of my own already, I would have come home that morning and hugged and hugged and never let him (or her of course) go.