I have always believed that it is important to give back to those less fortunate, or to support a cause that benefits those in need of help or support. Because of this, I support CHKD and the Ronald McDonald House. We are very fortunate to live close to the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. It is a highly respected children’s hospital that operates in Norfolk, Virginia which is relatively close to our facility. This hospital is close to my heart for two main reasons. My first experience with CHKD was when I had a scare with my youngest child. When he was 18 months, he became very sick. He lost a lot of weight, and most of his hair fell out. I was taking him back and forth to the doctor, but no one knew what was going on with him. Over a few months time, he continued to struggle until he was almost two. At this time, I took him to his 2 year appointment, and the doctor listened to his heart rate, and said you need to get him to CHKD now. After many tests, the doctors there concluded that my son had a virus that had attacked his atrium and ventricles. This messed up the electrical system in his heart, which caused his heart to beat at a lower than normal pace. They told us that he now had a complete heart block, which meant he needed a pacemaker. Needless to say, we were devastated. I will never forget the feeling of helplessness that I felt. In the minds of the doctors there, it was a simple fix, but to me it was so upsetting. Once my son’s surgery was scheduled, I realized that this was a simple surgery compared to what other children had to face. There were children there that needed heart transplants, open heart surgery, and other more invasive procedures. Several of the families we met had flown in from other areas and were given a place to stay at the Ronald McDonald House free of charge. I felt fortunate that my family lived close enough to this wonderful hospital to be able to travel back and forth easily. Brendan is 23 now, and doing great. He has to get his pacemaker replaced every 7 years or so, due to the battery life. Technology has come a long way since he received his first one at two. He lives a very normal, energetic life, so I am super grateful for that, and so is he. My 2nd experience with CHKD, and the Ronald McDonald house was in 2011 when my first grandchild was born. My middle daughter Katie was inspired by the nurses she witnessed during Owen, my grandson’s time, in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Because of this inspiration, she decided to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. This is an essay she wrote for a scholarship that she ended up winning for Obici Hospital.
Was there a defining moment in your life that made you want to pursue a nursing career?
In April 2011, my older sister found out she was pregnant. Naturally, the entire family was surprised, but excited and anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new addition. In November 2011, our precious Owen Sawyer Price was born: eight pounds, eight ounces of pure joy. He was nothing short of perfect through our eyes. When Owen was born, the nurses told our family that he was having difficulty breathing due to meconium aspiration. As if that was not scary enough, they transported him to the closest neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in the area, the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters in Norfolk, Virginia. Luckily, the transport from his birth hospital to CHKD was only thirty minutes. Upon arrival, he was placed on oxygen and given antibiotics in hopes to help him regain full lung capacity.
Owen was in the NICU for a little over a week. During that week, I visited every day enabling myself to see how the nurses in the NICU worked as a team. While visiting, I was able to see how they completed their assessments, administered medications, managed time between their other patients, helped with grieving family members, but most importantly, I witnessed their passion for their job. Before Owen was born and placed in the NICU, I thought I wanted to be a nurse. Once seeing the NICU and being a part of the team, I knew that being a nurse was my calling. Being in the neonatal intensive care unit is my ultimate goal as I pursue my career in nursing. I am beyond grateful to have found my passion so early in life and to have this defining moment that I can reflect on as I further my education to become a nurse.