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Remember to Thank Important Members of Your Child’s Team
By Mary Castro Summers, Director, Family TIES of Massachusetts
Family TIES of Massachusetts

nurse checking little boyNurses work in a variety of settings, with a wide range of duties, but their aim is the same - to ensure improved health outcomes and opportunities in everyday life for children, youth and their families.

Here are some examples of the many ways that nurses care for our children:

  • Hospital nurses oversee all aspects of their patients’ needs and provide day-to-day care during a stay, long or short. Nurse Managers and Nurse Educators support the nursing staff.

  • Nurses working in a doctor’s office provide direct care. They monitor vital signs, administer immunizations, and document health concerns. They also help facilitate communication between families and medical providers and sometimes with health insurers to ensure services are covered and that prior approvals, if needed, are in place.

  • Clinical Nurse Specialists and Nurse Practitioners have advanced degrees. They work alongside physicians to identify and address your child’s health concerns. They may work in a hospital or in a doctor’s office.

  • Homecare nurses provide similar services for children with complex medical needs in their homes. With doctor’s orders, these nurses manage a child’s health needs, which may include use of advanced medical technology. This allows children with complex needs to be cared for in their homes, instead of in the hospital or other long-term care facility.

  • School nurses manage the health and wellness of all students, including those with special healthcare needs. Managing and documenting medical, medication, and technology needs for a student can be overwhelming, and school nurses do it for many children, all at once, every day.

  • Public health nurses combine their nursing skills with public health principles and focus on improving health on a community-wide basis. Many work in state programs that support children and youth with special healthcare needs.

National Nurses Week was observed May 6 – 12, 2010. This annual observation is an opportunity to express heartfelt appreciation for the high-quality care and dedication that nurses provide to children and youth with special healthcare needs. Where would we be without our nurses? Have you thanked a nurse today?

Visit the American Nurses Association at www.nursingworld.org to learn more about the history of National Nurses Week.

Family TIES of Massachusetts is a statewide parent-to-parent information and support network for families of children with disabilities, special healthcare needs, or chronic illnesses. For more information call 1-800-905-TIES (8437) or visit www.massfamilyties.org.