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Hannah Borgoyne Nursing 16

Student Spotlight: Hannah Burgoyne, Nursing


    What does compassionate patient care look like at Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS)? For Hannah Burgoyne, Nursing ’16, it means taking the time to personally connect with and understand her smallest patients – children.

    Hannah completed her most recent clinical rotation at Boston Children’s Hospital, the number one pediatric hospital in the nation, and the experience helped to reaffirm her commitment to pediatrics.

    As the daughter of a pediatric nurse, Hannah has always appreciated the profession. And with her natural ability to connect with children and her passion for caring for others, pediatric nursing has proven to be a perfect match.

    We sat down with Hannah to learn more about her clinical experience and to hear her advice for those considering a career in healthcare and pediatric nursing.

    What sparked your interest in pediatric nursing?

    For as long as I can remember, I have had a love for children and a passion for caring for people. The chance to combine those two as a pediatric nurse made my decision very easy. As a pediatric nurse, you have the opportunity to make these connections to families, often during a time of great need. I see it as a great privilege to be a source of care and comfort to children and their families.

    My mother has been a pediatric nurse for almost 30 years, and she is my biggest inspiration. The way she balances the demands of work, a family of five, and her many other responsibilities with such grace is just one of the things that makes her so special. I have always aspired to be like her, and now I have the opportunity to follow in her footsteps as a professional.

    Tell us a little about Boston Children’s Hospital. What did it mean to you to complete your clinical at the nation’s number one pediatric hospital?

    Boston Children’s Hospital is an amazing place. It is constantly buzzing with people and there is never a dull moment. It was a very different experience from some of the smaller, community hospitals that I have rotated through. Children’s is number one for a reason: The care that they provide to patients and families is at the highest level in both competence and compassion. Medical breakthroughs are being made there almost every day and patients come from around the world to receive this level of care. For this reason, Children’s sees some of the most medically complicated patient cases that exist. While the responsibility to these patients can seem daunting, it is truly a privilege to be a part of a community that meets such unique needs while providing hope and healing to the most precious souls – children.

    Boston Children’s Hospital is just around the corner from our Boston campus – it is just a five-minute walk away! Did our location in the Longwood Medical Area help you make the most of your clinical experience?

    Absolutely! Had I chosen a school outside of Boston, I likely would not have had this opportunity. And because our university is so local, most people in the Longwood Medical Area know of us and hold our program in high esteem. Right off the bat, I felt that the staff on my floor respected my presence and had confidence in my ability to assist in caring for their patients.

    It sounds like an incredible opportunity.

    In all the excitement of my time at Children’s, I tried not to lose sight of what a gift it was just to be there. Not many nursing students or even professional nurses get the chance to spend time in a world-class teaching hospital. I will always be grateful that I had this opportunity.

    You completed your clinical with the 10 South Care Team. Tell us about the type of patients you worked with.

    The patients on my floor were all ages, ranging from newborn to 20 years of age. I had the chance to care for a baby, a toddler, and a few school-aged children. Most of the patients on the floor were either awaiting an organ transplant, recovering from transplant surgery, or admitted for an illness or complication after a transplant.

    What type of responsibilities did you have?

    Every day my instructor would assign me to a patient and I would assist that patient’s nurse with their care throughout the day. My individual responsibilities were to take vital signs on my patient every four hours, document the necessary assessments, such as pain, skin, consciousness, activity level, and more. Another responsibility of mine was to monitor intake and output and conduct safety checks of the patient’s room each shift. In addition, I was able to observe the administration of medications - and in some cases do it on my own under supervision. I helped with dressing changes, IV/Central Line care, tube feedings (NG tubes, G-tubes, and J-tubes), catheterizations, and other bedside procedures. I was also able to accompany my patients any time they left the floor for a procedure or diagnostic test in another department.

    What was one of the most significant experiences during your clinical?

    On one of my clinical days, I was assigned to care for a 15-month-old boy. He had a liver transplant earlier this year, but has experienced a series of infections since then due to immunosuppression. This is an unfortunate reality for transplant patients, because they must be immunosuppressed to avoid the rejection of the donor organ. This patient’s mother had four other children at home and was unable to stay with her son during the day. It was clear to me that she felt guilty and was worried to leave her baby boy for the day, but I promised that I would stay with him in her absence. I spent my entire 12-hour shift playing with this boy and seeing to his care needs. It did not take long to fall in love with his adorable face and spunky personality. Knowing that I was also providing peace of mind to a busy – and probably frightened – mother was rewarding. My exhaustion at the end of the day was well worth it.

    What was one of the biggest challenges you faced during your clinical?

    The most difficult part of this experience was having to carry out interventions or procedures that were scary, uncomfortable, or painful for my patient. It is really hard to be “the bad guy,” especially because most children don’t hold back in telling you how they feel about you! As a lover of children, I always want to be the one to make them smile, so it takes a lot of practice to feel confident during these hard times.

    Tell us about a time you experienced this.

    On one particular day, I had to administer an extremely uncomfortable treatment to a patient. He was terrified and very upset and unwilling to comply. Afterwards, he told me that he did not want to see me because “we aren’t friends anymore”. This broke my heart for a moment, but as distraught as I felt, I knew it had been so much more traumatic for him.

    How did you handle the situation?

    Luckily, my clinical instructor was extremely supportive and gave me good advice on how to handle these kinds of situations. It takes a balance of compassion and authority. Children do not respond well to an all-business approach, but it is important to stay focused on the task and be quick yet thorough. Fortunately, many children are very forgiving, as was my patient, so it did not take long for us to be “friends” again!

    What surprised you about this clinical experience?

    The resilience and positivity of the patients. I expected to see kids who looked “sick” and had to stay in bed all day. Though I saw my share of this, I found that many of the children were up and about and playing all day. All of the patients that I cared for were high-energy and full of smiles. This speaks to the true strength of children. Their excitement and overall love of life was infectious and I left each day feeling recharged.

    In class we are taught that “play is the work of children,” which could not be more true. Play is so therapeutic and so healing to these young patients, and it helps them to continue achieving developmental milestones while they are away from their day-to-day lives. It was really cool to be a part of healing in that way.

    What is your advice for someone who is looking to pursue a clinical rotation in a pediatric nursing setting?

    I have two main pieces of advice for anyone doing a rotation like this. First, is to be sure that you understand children developmentally. Every age requires a different approach and different considerations. This is very different from caring for adults, who for the most part, have the same developmental capacities. How you approach caring for a three year old will be markedly different from how you approach caring for a nine year old. It’s necessary to be mindful of these differences in order to provide the best care to your patients.

    My second piece of advice is to never underestimate the knowledge of the patient’s parents or guardians. Yes, you are the “professional,” but they are the parents who spend every day with their child. They know them best, and can typically provide the best insight into their needs, and almost always know when something isn’t right. Take the time to listen to them, show that you care, and include them in the process of caring for their child.

    What is your biggest piece of advice for someone who is considering a career in healthcare?

    It is important to be sure you have passion – whether it is for people, for science, for research, for leadership, or any other aspect of this field. Healthcare careers require a lot of intense training and education, which can be hard to get through unless your heart is truly in it.

    While money, status, and success are certainly motivators for some people (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), I find that those often aren’t enough for most people. It takes a love and a passion for the basic tenets of healthcare in order to find your niche in this field. If you have this, your career will be so much more rewarding and those on the receiving end of your care will be all the more better off because of it.