Tuesday, May 12, 2015

To our nurses: You are the heart of rehab

By Louise Kinross

When your child is an inpatient at Holland Bloorview, the staff you will come to rely on most are the nurses on your unit.

When your child moans in pain after his body cast is removed, because his muscles are in spasm, it will be a nurse who sits with both of you, remaining remarkably calm as you hyperventilate, and problem-solving to figure out a solution.

Our nurses are highly skilled in caring for children with complicated disabilities and medical problems—and their parents and families, who are often traumatized. They are ingenious in coming up with ways to distract kids from painful procedures or in making something unpleasant, like having a dressing changed or blood drawn or taking a medication, bearable.

Our nurses provide the best medical and emotional care to our children and families.

Of any staff member, it is our nurses who will be with your family the most during your inpatient stay.

Our nurses are our children’s greatest champions as they progress through the rehab process, and their constant allies when times are tough.

When my son was hospitalized here, we came to depend upon their handmade heating packs for pain: wrap three damp facecloths in a blue pad, secure with orange hospital tape and heat for a minute in the microwave. They were soft, moulded to the body and carried a bit of nursing magic.

When everyone goes home for the weekend and the hospital becomes a ghost town, and you feel incredibly lonely and alone, it will be the warmth and encouragement and presence of the nurses that lift your spirits.

Our nurses instill confidence in parents' ability to learn how to care practically for their child after surgery or trauma. They make what feels impossible possible.

Please join me in saluting all of our nurses at Holland Bloorview during National Nursing Week.

And please share a story about how a nurse made a difference in your life.


We often forget that healthcare professionals spend a lot of time away from their own children, or families, to take care of us all --especially nurses!

I once had a nurse, who decided to work a double shift, after a resident tried to draw blood but missed my vein. The nurse (Amanda)just looked at me and said, "Don't worry, everything will be okay." I never told Amanda that I could hear her yelling down the hall, "My patient has CP and is spastic!!!"

There sacrifice must never again go unnoticed.

Thank you.

Matt Kamaratakis