THE COMPASS

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My Patients, My Heroes – A Nurse’s Story by Stacey Hall

My name is Stacey and I’ve been a pediatric nurse at the Stollery Children’s Hospital for four years. In that time, I have seen countless moments of joy, pain, weakness and strength in patients and parents while they learn to cope with a disease or diagnosis they have just received. In being a nurse to patients who have undergone brain or spinal cord surgery, I have witnessed  miraculous moments shared with patients and their parents, and I have comforted others who were still hoping for a miracle.

When a parent is told their child has a tumour or a stroke, or has developed a life-threatening illness or needs emergency surgery, their entire universe stops moving. It is the responsibility of the health care team to address, explain, inform and teach the patient and their family everything they can to aid in the frightening journey that lies ahead. In some instances, the journey is brief, manageable and may become a distant memory. For others, the disease or diagnosis may change the lives of each family member, testing their strength and spirit and requiring an army of support and hope.

As a nurse, I generally witness only a fraction of this journey while the patient is hospitalized, treated and released. Some of the patients or families I will never see again, while others return and their difficult journey continues.

Volunteering as a camp counsellor at the Pediatric Neurosurgery Summer Camps, I’ve had the opportunity to reconnect with these patients, watching them thrive with kids who have been through the same struggles, some that they conquer while other struggles continue. All of them are heroes in my eyes.

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