Thursday, November 16, 2006

I'm Mean

I work as a nurse in a children's clinic. So, a big part of what I do every day is give kids their immunizations. Of course they always cry, and it is the part of my day I like least. On the other hand, I know it's only a momentary pain and that they will get over it pretty quick. After I give the shots I usually leave the room ASAP so the kids can get comforted by their parents and not have me there reminding them of their suffering. Or making them afraid something else bad is coming. Sometimes I get dirty looks from the kids, but usually they are focused on Mommy or Daddy's hugs. Last night, however, was a first. This cute little four year old gets his shots, then he is standing on the table getting his hug and he looks over his parent's shoulder, points at me and yells, "You're mean." Ouch! You gotta love this job.

I just have to get up on my soapbox for a second. Two of my biggest pet peeves at my job are:
A. When parents walk in to the clinic saying, "You're going to be mad soon," "Oh you're not gonna like this" and "You won't be so happy in a minute." Why not just keep a positive attitude and let the kid judge the experience for themselves, instead of telling them at the very beginning that they are going to hate it!
B. When parents don't give their kids any warning that they are getting shots, pretend like everything is so great, and make the nurse do a sneak attack. That just seems twice as mean to me. The kid is all happy and then suddenly it's like, "What the heck just happened!"
Are these the only options for doctor's visits? Where is the balance? How about just explaining what's going on. It's fun to see the doctor, he listens to your heart and looks in your ears. We get to see how much you grew. Then you have to have a few shots. It hurts, but it keeps you from getting sick and then you get stickers! Maybe even a trip to get ice cream. Maybe I'm wrong, but I think an informed child can cope better. In the long run, visits to the pediatrician help them learn that sometimes life hurts, but the rewards are worth it. :)

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