Caregivers Community

A Wish for All Caregivers from the Heart of a Pediatric Nurse

Gina Flores
Caregiver Advocate | Shield HealthCare
03/26/12  10:53 PM PST

Caregiver Story Spotlight | Shield HealthCare “What Makes Caregiving Rewarding?” Story Contest

Story by Maria G.

“Nights can be long for a caregiver. I know because I have been a pediatric nurse for almost 15 years. I am also a mom to a child with asthma so I have many times seen the sun set and rise without catching a wink of sleep in between. I know the agony of being on my feet all day caring for dying patients and still wonder if there was more that I could have done. I have seen parents so depleted from lack of sleep but still muster the strength to read their sick child a story. I know caregivers who have had to suddenly take on this role without prior experience and willingly try to learn along the way. Selfless acts of caregivers have always astonished me. Not only am I proud to be one, but admire those who are.

Caregiving can be hard work. It involves sacrifice, giving and giving more. Yet somehow caregiving brings joy and rewards that words fail to describe. For nurses, a smile from a patient means the world when you’re exhausted. Hearing a child’s laughter after he’s endured so much can be a welcomed second wind. Empowering a family with a new skill brings us comfort because we know that feelings of helplessness are so common to all caregivers. Being able to share resources with families or helping them to navigate our complicated healthcare system might make their difficult times seem more bearable. The ability for nurses to positively impact patients and families is part of what makes our job so fulfilling.

Many years ago, I cared for a child with adrenoleukodystrophy, a devastating condition which causes rapid deterioration. This family just moved to a new home and had a newborn when their six-year-old son was diagnosed. Within six months, he could no longer walk, eat or speak and required total care around the clock. Often times, they were awake all night. Caring for their sick child and a new baby placed enormous pressure on their family yet somehow they found the courage and faith to give the best quality of life to their son. They even were able to find humor in their situation and their strength inspired me to be a better person and a better nurse. I learned so much from these caregivers and this wisdom rewards me daily.

All caregivers are faced with a wide range of challenges. We not only take care of physical needs but emotional and family needs as well. We must act as a “voice” for those we care for. For some, liberties and responsibilities changed overnight and their lives will never be the same. However, being a caregiver can also have the power to enrich us with experiences and gifts that are priceless. We should celebrate efforts of caregivers and strive to help restore their energy and hope. My wish for all caregivers is that their nights are not so long and somehow they feel a sense of reward for what they do because we all deserve to awaken to a bright new day.”