Monday, December 17, 2018

This nurse earns high praise from kids

Lisa Drumonde is a registered practical nurse working with children who are hospitalized at Holland Bloorview for rehab after painful bone surgeries or life-changing trauma. She recently won the DAISY award, which recognizes a nurse that uses a strengths-based approach and combines top-notch clinical skills with deep connections with children and families. Lisa Drumonde began work almost 22 years ago at what was then the Bloorview Children’s Hospital. Hammas, 14, pictured above with Lisa, describes her as a nursing "legend."

BLOOM: How did you get into the field?

Lisa Drumonde:
When I was about 10, my family was ready to go on a trip to Disney when my younger brother didn’t feel well. My mom took him to Emergency, and they discovered a tumour on his lung. That was my first experience around nurses, and it stayed with me. I think being a sibling in that situation gave me empathy toward the siblings of the kids we work with.

After high school I went off to York University to study history. While I was there I got a job at a hospital as a weekend housekeeper. There were a number of students working there. I had a lot of interaction with the patients—who were adults. I really enjoyed being with the patients, and seeing some of the things the nurses did on the unit. I decided to change direction and go into nursing at George Brown.

BLOOM: What made you think nursing would be a good fit for you?

Lisa Drumonde:
I’m a pretty easy-going person, and I’m patient and kind.

BLOOM: How did you decide to work with kids?

Lisa Drumonde:
Everything led to kids. It was almost my fate. I initially got a job working as a pediatric home nurse at night and on the weekend. Then I was taking a certificate in rehab nursing and I did a placement with Kelly Brewer, the physiotherapist, at what was then the Bloorview Children’s Hospital. I saw they were hiring, and having the pediatric experience enabled me to get the job.

BLOOM: You usually work evenings. Do you like that shift?

Lisa Drumonde:
I love it! I can get my kids up and out in the morning and make sure everyone’s got their lunches and eaten breakfast. I have two girls—a 12-year-old and a 15-year-old. My older daughter has a chronic illness, and the evening shift gives me the flexibility to accommodate the needs of my family.

Coming to work in the afternoon helps me shift gears and be that other person—not just a mom. I get a lot of gratification from the kids and families I work with, and from being around my peers.

BLOOM: How many children do you work with on the evening shift?

Lisa Drumonde
: Usually it’s three. I’ll go into the computer and check on their care and what they’ll require, including their medications. We have the evening routine, which is dinner. Some of our kids are at a stage where they need to be walking to meals. I may do range-of-motion exercises with my kids, or showers, or wound care.

Managing pain is a big thing. Something may happen and I need to call the doctor or pharmacy or orthotics. It’s really beneficial when you have the same kids for a few shifts in a row. You get into a really nice rhythm with them. You know exactly what they need, and what motivates them. Consistency is important to families as well.

BLOOM: What’s the greatest joy?

Lisa Drumonde:
Interacting with the kids. Having a laugh: making them laugh or they make me laugh. It’s the relationship that you build with the kids and families, and the trust. I had one child last week when she first came in, and then I didn’t have her for a week. When I got her again, she’s so much stronger, and able to move from her bed better. Seeing that progression in kids is really rewarding. I love the nurses that I work with, and I enjoy working with the other disciplines too. I take my job seriously, but I like to have fun with it.

BLOOM: That’s the creative part.

Lisa Drumonde:
Yes. And I like the teamwork. I feel we’re very strong on the specialized orthopedic and developmental rehab unit (SODR) in regards to having each other’s back, and working together.

BLOOM: What’s the greatest challenge?

Lisa Drumonde:
When families are here because their child has been through a traumatic experience. Families are very stressed and trying to cope with what’s happened. Helping to support the family through that is probably the hardest thing, because I want to say and do the right thing to help them. 

BLOOM: How do you manage that?

Lisa Drumonde: I feel nurses do a good job of supporting each other. I know my manager is always available to support me, too.

BLOOM: What emotions come with the job?

Lisa Drumonde:
Mostly joy. I feel very grateful to be working here and to be working with the kids. The parents trust us to take good care of their kids, to get the right meds, and to do the right things to help both child and family. Sometimes there’s sadness. I really feel for some of the families. I have to put up a bit of an emotional wall sometimes, or it can affect you too much.

BLOOM: I remember in our narrative nursing group, which you were in, a number of nurses spoke about times they felt helpless.

Lisa Drumonde:
Yes, when children have nerve pain it’s brutal. The medications that can help it usually take a couple of weeks to be fully effective. It’s hard to see a child in so much pain, and even strong analgesics don’t help.

BLOOM: How do you cope with that?

Lisa Drumonde:
I talk to my nursing colleagues. I get their advice and their opinions. They may have good suggestions, not only to support me, but in how to help the child. The biggest thing for me is talking to others who understand.

BLOOM: I’ve always felt that nurses, because they spend so much time with our families, have the opportunity to develop close relationships that can give them unique insights.

Lisa Drumonde:
With me, being here as long as I have been, I’ve noticed in the last year or two a certain confidence within myself. When I go into a patient room now I feel very comfortable and confident. The families sense this, which is a positive way to start my relationship with them.

BLOOM: What qualities are most important in a nurse?

Lisa Drumonde:
Patience, kindness and understanding. Being flexible, but also having the right amount of firmness, too. Time management is important. You need to be innovative and knowledgeable.

BLOOM: How do you innovate?

Lisa Drumonde:
We’re seeing more and more kids on the unit who have anxiety. So finding a way where you can help the child to trust you and be comfortable with you. If you need to do a dressing change, finding a way where you can lower their anxiety. It may be doing something silly, or funny or singing. Sometimes iPads are a helpful distraction.

BLOOM: If you could change one thing about children’s rehab, what would it be?

Lisa Drumonde:
One thing we talk about on the unit a lot is having more psychological support for our kids who have gone through sudden, traumatic experiences. For example, we see a lot of kids who were involved in a motor vehicle accident, or who have a spinal-cord injury.

BLOOM: What did you think when you heard you’d won the Daisy award?

Lisa Drumonde:
I was overwhelmed. I had no idea I’d won it. It all happened on the unit. Julia was there and other upper management people, and the kids and families and the staff. I was given a statue that was carved in Africa. It’s really special. Receiving the Daisy award was a truly meaningful and touching moment in my nursing career.

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