A Note from an ER Nurse: ‘What Happens Inside Our Walls.’
By Megan Cole, Emergency Department Nurse, Cook Children's Medical Center
I have had the privilege of working in the Emergency Department at Cook Children’s for 10 years, with three of those years as a nurse. I often have people ask me, “How do you do it every day?” or “What is the hardest part of your job?”
It’s hard to describe to an outsider just what happens inside our walls. One thing is certain, dear patients and families, I want you to know that we see you. Every Christmas I work, I remember my first one here. I walked in to find out we had already had two children die. To those families who lost their children, I want you to know that I see you and I think of you at Christmastime.
There are times when I drive home from work in complete silence and don’t even realize I forgot to turn on the radio. There are days when I have to sit in the driveway a few extra minutes before I go in to see my family, and they wonder when I am coming in.
To the mother who I sat with after she received news that her daughter’s cancer was back and metastatic, I see you and I remember you. I remember you when I walk in the door to see my daughter, who is the same age as yours. I see you when I don’t want to get up early to rush through the crazy morning. I see you when I’m lucky enough to drop my child off at school, knowing you would give anything to trade places with me.
As a nurse, I love nothing more than to send your child out the door feeling better and in good spirits. I will drop anything at a moment’s notice to have a bubble party or dance party. I’m never afraid to look silly in the name of making your child smile. I think most of us keep coming back to pediatrics because the good truly outweighs the bad. To the sweet sparkly princess who colored me a picture, told me thank you, and gave me a hug, you gave me the push to get through the rest of my day on a high note.
As an ER nurse, expectations and demands placed on me are high. I experience difficult situations every day. There are always more patients waiting who need care. I try to take a moment if I can to process what happened.
I am lucky to work with truly the best team of people who understand and who support me when I need it. It’s easy to feel lost and overwhelmed at times in our world. If you find yourself here with your child, I want you to know that each of your children impacts my life. They are the reason I come to work every day.
Megan Cole has worked at Cook Children's for 12 years, 10 of which have been in the Emergency Department. Outside of work, Megan enjoys baking, music and spending time with her family.
To learn more about Cook Children's Emergency Services, click here.