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YON 2020 Day 296: Samantha Russell, BSN, RN, CPN

A Certified Pediatric Registered Nurse at Fairview Hospital for the last eight years, Samantha Russell, BSN, RN, CPN, currently works in the Pediatric Emergency Department (ED). She explains the responsibilities of her role, the unique aspects of caring for children, and the rewards it brings.

My story started when I was small child and received medical care at Fairview Hospital. I remember thinking that these women were the most caring people. I wanted to be just like them when I grew up, and that is exactly what I did. After nursing school, I gained knowledge and expertise on the Med/Surg Unit and then in the Adult ED. After enhancing my critical care skills, I began my dream career in the Pediatric ED. I not only made it to where I wanted to be, but it finally felt like home to me.

Working in a Pediatric ED is challenging but also very rewarding. Small moments become big accomplishments--whether it is connecting with a child with sensory sensitivities that I can help sit through vital signs or being able to ease the fears of a parent when it is their child’s first ED visit. The ED in itself is a scary place, and I continue to remind myself of that each day. Honestly, our patients won’t let me forget either. They tell more through their body language than their words. Yet, the most amazing feeling is watching a timid child in triage find comfort in our staff and then talking non-stop about everything by the end of the visit. As nurses, we get to see and feel the trust being formed. Those moments are crucial to the developmental impact a hospital can have on a child. This will only make future visits less traumatic and less scary for our patients--and I get to play a part in that.

In a Pediatric ED, a patient’s time moves fast from triage to diagnoses to admission or discharge. This means that as a nurse I need to build rapport and trust at a quick pace with both the patient and family. I don’t always get to see the end result of my work, but the best feeling is when a patient and family recognize me from a previous experience. I have had parents talk about how smoothly I started an IV on their daughter 3 years ago. Others have told me that my calming, caring demeanor helped them cope while we were taking care of their baby. It is during moments like these that I realize how lucky I am to not only walk into a job I love every day, but also be able to make such a positive impact on people’s lives. Recognizing this is what gives me great pride in being a nurse and keeps me excited to come back to work each day.

In addition to making a difference for patients and families, I am able to share my passion with nursing students as well. I truly enjoy being able to explore both the successes and challenges of being a Pediatric Nurse and provide shadowing experiences with a good mix of cooperative and difficult patients. At the end of shadowing, I debrief with the student to give them an opportunity to reflect on what they experienced, and to be able to take a piece of knowledge with them from their day. I believe we, as seasoned nurses, have the gift of experience to provide to students and in doing so, they are able to find where their passion lies. I can only hope that my passion is contagious and will motivate them to become future nurses at the Cleveland Clinic.

I would like to say thank you to all of my mentors, colleagues, and administrators who have supported me on my nursing journey and helped shape me into the nurse I am today. This year might not go down as the best year in history, but who better to take on a pandemic than the strong and fearless nurses of the world? It is the Year of the Nurse for a reason. I, for one, will continue to do my part each and every day while celebrating my profession 365 days each and every year. Happy Year of the Nurse to all of my colleagues, those I know and those who I have not yet had the pleasure to meet! You truly make a difference.

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