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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Working with pediatrics

Today we are honored to have a guest post from one of my RT pals, Paul Ritt,  who works for a pediatric unit in one of Michigans larger medical facilities.  So if you're interested in working solely with pediatrics, here's a little insight from the inside.

Hi.  My name is Paul Ritt and I work for Better Life Hospital somewhere in Michigan.  I generally work with pediatric patients of a variety of sorts. We have a ped ICU which we refer to as PIC U for acutely injured kids, and a Peds ICU which is a long term center for mainly chronically ill kids.  The Peds ICU includes a vent dependent unit.  We also have a peds emergency room and a neonatal intensive care unit.  So there you have an overview of our facility. 

I knew from day one working in such a facility would be challenging, and sad at times, yet I love kids and I wouldn't choose to work anywhere else.  One of the neat things about working with kids is a sick kid is a sick kid.  What I mean here is there are a lot of adults who fake it just to get attention, or just to get out of work, or just to get social security.  Yet kids never fake being sick -- or fake it enough to end up in here anyway. 

I love taking care of kids because, to put it simply, I love kids.  I love their innocence.  I love the way they smile even in the face of tough sickness.  I find that kids have a way of seeing hope and happiness where many adults find dread and misery.  Kids just have a way of making life seem so simple.  I just love it.

Yet through it all you have your challenges.  For example, during RSV season we have our shot gun season.  It's based on what we like to call the shotgun effect.  I'm sure you've experienced some form of the shotgun effect where you work.  This is where you have a sick person and the doctor throws everything available at that patient in the hopes that something works.

In RSV season every patient admitted with, or suspected of, having RSV will get all of the following ordered:
  • Ventolin
  • Pulmicort
  • Toby
  • Pulmizyne
  • CPT
  • Suction
You can't do all those at the same time, so you are usually in the room anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour.  The nice thing is you get to spend quality time with the patient and get to know families.  You get to watch lots of Micky Mouse Clubhouse.  The down part is you are in the same room for too long doing wasteful procedures.

Another thing I hate is the PICU.  It's sad for one thing.  Yet often I think the PICU just creates patients for the Peds ICU.  We put some patients on ventilators and we create chronic lungers who require months in the ICU and then a lifetime of suffering from chronic illness. 

Granted sometimes kids need to be ventilated, yet many times I think they are just to make the doctor and nurses feel better, or to satisfy a guideline, or just to protect the airway during a flight in the medical helicopter.  Yes, the PICU is just creating a whole new group of patients, and YES the hospital makes money off these patients.

Thanks Paul

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