A couple of months ago, I was asked if I would go and speak at a primary school on the subject of “people who help us”, I hadn’t started my role as an NQN yet and thought this would be an excellent to inspire some children into nursing.
Despite being a paediatric trained nurse, I was somewhat nervous to speak to 90 children! I am used to talking to no more than a couple of children at a time. I made a presentation that was no longer than a few slides long, telling them some of the basics about what we do; giving medications, teaching children and parents, caring and playing. Every child in the room was absolutely engrossed in it; I put a photograph of a neonate with a tiny superhero cape on one of the slides to show them the kind of babies that I looked after, I’m certain some children thought the babies I care for are real superheroes (which obviously they are). Finally, I showed them WHO could be a nurse; photos of many of my friends from all backgrounds. After I did some talking I think moved onto the most exciting part! Playing with the equipment. I took in a few stethoscopes and explained how I needed to use them to listen to children’s hearts and lungs. I then let them listen to my heart, their heart and then their lungs too. They absolutely lit up with excitement when they could hear the beating of the heart. I let them play with syringes, explaining how we use them to give medicines through special tubes in the hands or in the nose. Each child was so excited to try something new.
What I loved even more than showing them some of the things that I do, they were desperate to tell me everything too.
I have now seen the papercuts of nearly every child and sat and listened to every story of when they have been to hospital. I saw a quote recently which really inspired me. It said, “listen to the small things when they are little otherwise they won’t tell you the big things when they’re older because to them, it has always been the big things”. I hope that being there for these children, teaching, playing and listening has built trust for them in our profession, that they will go on to tell me all the little and big things, no matter what age they are.
Finally, the last proudest moment I had while I was there was when the teacher asked the class who wanted to be a nurse when they grew up at least 70% of the class put their hand up; boys and girls alike. We need to do more of this in our community, we need show children what we do and inspire the next generation. Going in for one or two days into one school isn’t enough, everyone should be asking their local schools if they can come in to talk to the students. We need more nurses and we can only do that if we show people what we do.
Written by Lucy Mason (@MissLucyMay)