Case study

Children's nurse — Katie Tarr

Before starting her nursing degree, Katie was a play worker for children with special needs, and knew that child nursing was the area she wanted to work in

What degree did you study?

I studied for a BSc in Nursing (child) at the University of South Wales. I graduated in 2019.

What are your main work activities?

My ward has patients between 0–16-years-old.

My day varies day-to-day but consists of a handover where I learn about the patients on the ward and get my allocated patients. There is then a ward round where the doctors help decide treatment plans and whether patients can go home or stay.

In between I do observations, administer medications, make sure patients have adequate nutrition and hydration, offer support with feeding babies via bottle, breast or internally. I provide play activities and emotional support for parents. I prepare children for theatre and support them post operatively. I also help support student nurses through their nursing journey.

What do you enjoy about your job?

I enjoy the opportunity to get to know and support my patients and their families. This varies from supporting mums with breastfeeding to teaching children and parents how to manage their long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes. I also love spending time playing and doing activities with my patients.

What are the most challenging parts?

Age is always a big challenge in children's nursing. Trying to engage, encourage and get children to cooperate is a big part of the job and is often difficult. Hospitals can be scary, and medications can taste awful. So getting the children to comply and their parents on board can take hard work. Getting to know the children and using play can often go a long way.

Shift patterns can be challenging for lots of people, switching from day to nights and back is physically and mentally draining. People say we only work three days a week but 12-hour shifts on your feet are long and are hard work. Having a good rapport with managers can help to discuss set shifts or finding patterns that work or don't work for you.

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