Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Top Three Pet Peeves of Pediatric ER Nurses

At least my top three!

This week, I'm highlighting some blog posts that I did for Erin MacPherson's Christian Mama's Guide last year. Some of you may not know but I am a real live pediatric ER RN. As always, these posts are meant to be educational and do not replace a doctor's visit if your child is ill.

Erin has a WICKED sense of humor and is releasing a series of books this spring so I hope you'll keep an eye out for them.

Here’s a look into the mind of the pediatric ER nurse. Don’t we all have pet peeves when it comes to our jobs? Of course… the ER nurse is no different. Often times, these are not mentioned in “public” as we don’t want to offend families. But, in honesty, there are some things parents do that drive us crazy. Here are a few at the top of my list.

  1. Calling medicine candy. This is a big no-no for us pediatric nurses. We really don’t want kids to associate taking medicine with the fun of having candy. Candy is good. Candy is fun. Candy is generally not lethal if you eat too much. Medicine is far different from that. So say something like, “This tastes sweet.” Or “This tastes like orange.”--- but don’t associate medicine with candy in the same sentence.
  2.  Children not wearing helmets. I’m amazed at how many families come to the ER over concern for head injury after a fall off of (insert something with wheels here) and their child wasn’t wearing a helmet. First question: Do they have one? Often times the response is, “Yes, I just can’t get him to wear it.”
First off, as a parent, set the example. Are you wearing your helmet when you ride your bike? Second, from the moment your child is on anything with wheels, they need a helmet. Yes, even when they’re on their tricycle. This will institute a habit and an expectation—just like wearing a seatbelt.

Secondly, be firm. If they don’t wear their helmet, they lose their wheels. Parent, “I can’t keep him off his bike.” Well, then the wheels come off the bike. The skateboard is locked in the trunk of your car. Be firm.
It only takes one bad head injury for devastating effects. Don’t risk it.

  1. Smoking. Secondary smoke is a big health risk for kids. If you smoke, you need to stop. Smoking outside, unfortunately, doesn’t help. Yes, even if you have a “smoking jacket”. If I can smell smoke, the particles are on you and can even be enough to trigger an asthma attack in kids. If you are a smoker, talk to your pediatrician about resources your state might have to help you quit. Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to the development of congenital heart defects in infants along with a host of other problems.
Now, you tell me, what are some other pet peeves you think a pediatric ER nurse may have? Are you offended by reading these?


  1. Jordyn, As a physician, I'm with you on every one of these. Wish we could get the word out to everyone. Thanks for doing your part.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Richard. Hope the writing is going well!

  2. Jordyn - The whole candy thing is one of the reasons I loathe - yes, LOATHE - kid vitamins. I'm a bad mom, I'm sure, for not giving my kids chewy, delicious, gummy vitamins when everyone else's parents were supplying their kids with them.... I actually fed my kids nutritious food instead, making sure they had all they needed in their diets. But then, I'm archaic that way.

    Okay. That made me sound awful. I'm not, really. But I do think that one of the reasons we struggle with so much child obesity is because we cater to our wants instead of our needs. A kid CAN appreciate something being good for them just because it's good for them. They CAN understand that some things aren't yummy, don't feel good, but can make you a better, stronger, healthier exercising and getting outside. And yes, we struggle with this in our home, even WITH my propensity toward the archaic. :-)

    BTW, Happy New Year!


    1. Awww, thanks Becky. Our kids can be healthy. It takes work but it is possible. Kids can have good eating habits, too-- for sure.

  3. Just had a tragedy here in Austin ... a man riding a motorcycle with a young child, neither with helmets, now both dead. C'mon, people, THINK!! Yes, it can happen to you! WEAR YOUR HELMETS!!