My Education: BS, Nursing, Boston University
My Prior Experience: I have been a pediatric nurse most of my career. I am now an independent nurse provider for the state of Massachusetts taking care of pediatric patients in there homes.
My Company: I am self-employed.
Job/Career Overview: My main responsibility is to care for my patients in the safest way possible. I am the sole nurse caring for the patient when I am at his or her home. I must rely on my nursing judgment and assessment skills to accurately make a decision on the care to provide. I maintain a close working relationship with the physicians monitoring and overseeing the care of the patient and rely on their guidance. The child I take care of currently has multi-system involvement and receives hospital-level care at home. There are multiple medications that the patient receives intravenously through a tube that goes directly into the heart. All of the patient's nutrition is delivered in this way as well. The patient has tubes into the abdomen and small intestine to relieve gas in the GI tract but also to receive small amounts of formula. The patient also has an ileostomy that helps keep things moving in the digestive tract. I am responsible for assessing all of the tubes/stomas to make sure things are functioning properly. I check for bowel obstruction or gastrointestinal bleeding. I also catheterize the patient a few times daily to prevent urinary tract infections. The best part of the job is helping the parents keep their medically fragile child at home and not in an institution, improving his quality of life and making life as normal as possible, under the circumstances.
I rate this career 8 out of 10.
The best part of the job is the satisfaction I get knowing I am keeping this child safe and healthy at home. It is knowing that the parents trust me to care for their child. It is also being able to provide a somewhat normal life for a child who would otherwise be institutionalized.
The worst part of the job is knowing that someday my time with this child and family will be through. Also, in this line of work, most children have a poor prognosis and never actually improve.
For anyone who would like to pursue a career in pediatric home care, I would suggest working in a hospital setting for at least two years. You need to gain experience in a variety of situations with many different diagnoses and treatments in order to have the skills and confidence to function independently. Excellent communication skills are a must. Caring and compassion are also a requirement. You must be able to care for your patient but also take into consideration the needs of the family as well. A sense of humor is important too!