February 4, 2010, 5:31 am

The Kids Are Alright

iphoneapp:locNurse Jones was impressed with the NeoNatal App on her new iPad, but the device was much larger than she expected.

I plan to get an iPad.

I wonder if it comes with “wings”. Is the deluxe version called a Max-i-Pad?

Sorry, I had to get my feminine hygiene jokes out of the way.

I mean, Steve Jobs could hold up a toilet paper roll and I’d go into debt for it.

But, this time I’m waiting.

I will wait until the iPad runs OS X, supports video and runs more than one app at at time.

Don’t make me wait too long, Steve!


Speaking of Steve, he figures prominently in this week’s Grand Rounds over at Dr. Rob’s Musings of a Distractible Mind. Ground hogs and llamas and iPads, oh my!

Change of Shift will be up this evening at Rehab, RN!

Selena at Oh, My Aches and Pains is hosting the next Patients for a Moment carnival, so send your stories!


Something is in the air.

Work has been uncharacteristically crazy,nuts,bananas busy since I returned from my influenza-induced hiatus. Scores of very sick people, no real pattern. And a ton of pediatrics.

Feverish, coughing, runny-nose, wheezing, stridorous, vomiting, diarrhea-having, screaming, combative, medicine-spitting small humans.

It’s not easy triaging these little folks. You have to get the history over the crying/screaming, try and obtain vitals while they kick off any and all probes, do a rectal temperature if they are under 2 years old (wrestling to keep them still), and weigh them for medication dosing.

You have to do all this taking into account their developmental stage/age, which affects everything from how you approach a pediatric patient to what behaviors would be considered “normal”.

Then there is the “two-fer”. One child is sick? Well then, let’s check the other one, too! Never mind that the other one isn’t showing symptoms but might be incubating a virus as we speak, or had symptoms and is now on the mend, the logic of the parents is “might as well check them both!”


So that’s a double triage.

Time consuming. Energy consuming. Hearing-loss inducing. Nerve-grating.

And absolutely gratifying.


Didn’t expect that, did ya?

There is something about building a rapport with a child, starting at triage, that makes all the above worth it.

The smiles that you get when you first say hi (before they realize there is an assessment involved!)

The baby who verbalizes back when you talk to her.

The toddler who laughs when the oximeter probe falls off.

The tiny Disney Princess who is proud of her Ariel slippers.

The boy who scans the Wong-Baker pain scale with a serious expression so he can pick just the right number.

Giving Tylenol and/or Motrin to a cranky, miserable, feverish child and then watching them play peek-a-boo with the curtains 30 minutes later.

Hearing giggling from the room as they play with siblings.

Watching them snuggle the teddy bear you just gave them.

Seeing the look of excitement when they see you have a juice box (what is it about juice?)

The tiny hand waving good-bye as they leave the department.


In the midst of some hellacious nights, I’ve taken care of some wonderful kids.

It isn’t easy. Caring for kids can’t be rushed. They can be a challenge.

But when it’s all said and done, it is the most gratifying part of my work.

The kids are alright, indeed.


  • Laura Scarborough

    February 4, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    OMG! i must get that sweet neonatal app. i don’t care how big it is. i need it!
    love this post!

  • Dr Dean

    February 6, 2010 at 6:12 am

    It is often said, but so true for me- I would have gone into pediatrics-except for dealing with the parents….

    I would love an ipad as well, but will wait on:
    The price to come down.
    Multiple simultaneous apps.
    The price to come down, oh I said that already.
    The price to come down!!!

  • ER Nurse_JR

    February 7, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    This past week, I spent 20 of my 36 hours in triage and saw a ton of kids (well, maybe that’s an exaggeration) but I certainly saw a lot of these “small humans”. From the well this one is sick, so if he gets sick, they all get sick (3 small boys – 14 months, and a 3 & 4 year old) to the little girl who was vomitting in the triage room. In addition to the time in triage, I took care of a 2-year-old boy who had SVT for the third time in his short life and a 5-year-old girl next door who had been vomitting for 2 days. Although that night was tough, I wouldn’t give it up for anything! I have always believed that with every bad night, there is always something good that can come out of it or something that reminds us why we went into nursing. For me, it was the smile of a 7-week-old girl when I placed the pulse ox on her teeny-tiny toe – she was beyond adorable & healthy – I just love my career!

  • Carol S.

    February 7, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    The few times I’ve had to take my children into the ER, I appreciated the nurses so much. Thank you for what you do.

  • ER Nurse_JR

    February 14, 2010 at 1:37 pm

    I thought ipad was a typo, but now I can see what all the hype is about over the ipad! It’s a screen/device that can do just about anything! Costly, so I will wait until that price tag is reduced, but usually as time passes the kinks get worked out & a better product is made. This ipad could change the way we care for and teach our patients at the bedside. It’d be a lot easier to explain a disease process, if you can show them images or videos on a nearly 10-inch screen while explaining it all to them.


  • docwrite

    February 15, 2010 at 6:29 pm

    An iPad with good medical apps would certainly come in handy while explaining to patients. Since its so new, I will probably wait for the updated edition so that any bugs in the new ones are taken care of.

  • NurseW

    April 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    That’s exactly why I chose Peds ER. Yeah, the parents can get on your absolute last nerve, but they also are in your face because they care about thier kids. Grown-ups take forever to get well, but you take a sick as a dog kid, bolus them up, medicate a little bit and next thing you know, they are covering your scrubs in stickers, eating a popsicle and hopping out the door. It’s great! Plus, Kids are SUPPOSED to poop thier pants… in adults its just gross.

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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