By CHARISSE DE LOS REYES
All nurses provide healthcare to people, but some choose to care for a particular group. Leah Brown, a pediatric nurse, chose to care for children and has been doing so for nine years. She works full-time as a school nurse at P.S. M811, a New York City school for children with severe disabilities. She also works part-time at the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), a government agency that protects children from abuse and neglect. There, Leah checks the overall health conditions of children entering foster care and gives medications and treatments when needed.
IndyKids: How did you get interested in working with children?
Leah Brown: Caring for my three children attracted me to becoming a pediatric nurse, and having an autistic son inspired me to focus my work on children with disablities.
What are the challenges that you face in your work?
One, I constantly have to adjust the way I communicate with my patients, depending on their age and level of mental development, because I work with newborns to 18-year-olds and with children who have different levels of disability. Two, I always have to be updated on the latest practice in pediatric care, which means I must take time to read medical journals, get more training, attend seminars and conferences as well as join professional associations that would expose me to further knowledge in my work.
What is the best part of your job?
The feeling of helping other people is extremely rewarding for me and brings me a sense of self-fulfillment.
What kind of person makes a good pediatric nurse, especially one who will work with disabled, abused and/or neglected kids?
The person should be very caring and should have a lot of compassion and patience.
Any tips for children interested in becoming pediatric nurses?
First, analyze your personality: Are you caring, compassionate and patient? Can you handle seeing a child sad, scared or upset? Second, you need to have a strong academic background in math and science, especially biology and chemistry. Third, volunteer or get a summer job at a hospital or community center that provides care for children.