5 Things I’ve Learned from Working in a Children’s Hospital

5 Things I've Learned from Working in a Children's Hospital - Including how to get car seats nearly half off! #kids #children #safety | eastandblog.com
1. Children are little sponges.

What’s the expression? The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. When parents don’t say pleases and thank yous, is it really so shocking that the kids don’t either? And when parents are kind and respectful, it’s no wonder that their kids ask for a sticker instead of just taking one.

This is one of the things that scares me most about having children. They watch everything you do. They mimic you, your words, your behaviors. They truly are little sponges.

I knew this but didn’t realize how extreme it was until I interacted with hundreds of parents and their children every day. I think this is one of the reasons I feel unprepared to have children. I feel like I need to be the absolute best version of myself, to present to my children an example of someone that they should want to be like. I’m not that person (yet).

2. Children’s hospitals often have a safety store – selling car seats, sleep sacks, etc. at cost.

You are required by law to put your child in a car seat in the car. Many children’s hospitals nationwide get brand name safety items at cost and sell them at cost to make sure all kids have the safety equipment they need.

Anyone can shop at the safety store and everyone gets the items at cost. It’s such an awesome resource. Why pay full price at Target when you could get the same brand name car seat for cheap? The safety store also sells items like sleep sacks, monitors, and helmets.

If you are interested in seeing if your local children’s hospital has a safety store, visit their website or give them a call. Here is a list of all of the children’s hospitals in the US.

3. If you waited a long time in the ER, there’s probably a reason.

And that reason could be that there was a child much, much sicker than yours who needed attention first.

4. Someone doesn’t have to look like a good parent to be a good parent.

What does a good parent look like, really? One thing I’ve learned is the good and bad parents come in all shapes and sizes. A person can be a great parent (or a terrible one) regardless of what they look like, dress like, how many tattoos they have, how many teeth they’re missing, or what language they speak.

I feel like interacting with so many different kinds of people and families has made me a little less judgmental. Everyone gets a big smile and everyone gets my best care and concern.

5. You aren’t guaranteed a healthy child.

This is the scariest thing of all. It seems like because most people I know have healthy babies, that I will too someday. But seeing kids who have serious medical needs (sometimes life-long) every day has really terrified me. Sure, my kids could be healthy. And yes, even if they weren’t I would love them anyways. But there is always that chance that they won’t be and I have a reminder of that every single day.

  • So scary how sick children can be and how there is nothing you can do about it! And I had the same ER experience on Monday night but then I realized if I am waiting and other people are “cutting” they are doing so for a reason and I should be thankful that I do not have to skip the line!

    • Exactly. If you are brought in right away, it means things are BAD.

  • Great lessons learned! I specifically love #4 – we are so quick to judge on appearance these days, when it typically doesn’t have anything to do with how that person cares for or treats others. And props for working in a children’s hospital, I can’t imagine how difficult it would be working with and seeing sick children all the time, it takes a special person to do that!

    • I also only interact with families in the children’s hospital, usually when they are at a low point. Being in the hospital generally doesn’t always bring out the very best in people because parents are scared. No one wants to be in the hospital. So I try to remember that even when I see a parent do something that surprises me, they are not their usual selves.

  • #3 is so true! I understand the most people go to the emergency room overnight because urgent care clinics and doctor’s offices aren’t open. But don’t bitch if your kid just has a slight fever and you have to wait.

    • We have some urgent care clinics that are open 24 hours in our area and I’m always surprised when people come to the hospital instead for fairly minor things. I think that in the middle of the night, when your kid is in pain, everything just feels more desperate and people come to the ER.

  • I always worry taking a child to the hospital

    • It’s definitely weird to work in a place where realistically, all the customers (patients and their families) don’t want to be. If a family is in the hospital, it’s probably the low point of their year (and possibly their lives, depending on the situation).

  • I get nervous about having healthy children too. I remember how much my parents had to do to take care of me, and idk if I would be able to do the same. But I still had an awesome childhood and we adapted. Yeah, it’s hard and your life looks different from other people. But everyone has their own challenges and hardships in life. Health and such is just one.

    • I think I worry most about severe mental disabilities. I see lots of parents every day who have children they love but who will never grow up and move out. I think the expectation when you become a parent is that you’ll always worry, but there will come a point when your child will be independent. Seeing families who will always have a child who will always live at home and be completely dependent, that’s what scares me most. It’s a totally different commitment but it could be a reality if we choose to have kids.

      • I hear you on that because I worry about it too. At the preschool where I work I work more one on one with a boy who has some mental disabilities. He’s a sweet kid, and I think (I hope) someday he will be independent. But it’s so hard even just being his aid for a few hours a day. I love him to pieces, but it’s hard. I don’t know how parents do it. They’re amazing.

  • Most people don’t realize that waiting a long time in the ER is a good thing! It means your child is stable! It also means that maybe a visit to Urgent Care instead would have been appropriate. (I’m a big fan of using the emergency room for actual emergencies) And number #4 is also incredibly true. Parenting skills and appearance don’t always go hand-in-hand.

    • Your absolutely right. Lots of ER cases could have been handled at an urgent care or even a primary care physician. I just think that in the middle of the night, when a kid has been crying for a long time or is in pain, parents get more scared and desperate. The sleep deprivation from having a sick kid doesn’t help either.

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