We all know that pediatricians are just different. 

We’ve come to accept that they are a kinder, gentler physician type.

But those of us who work in, for or with children’s hospitals also know that everyone who works in a pediatric setting is different. 
I’m not sure why.  I suspect that some are different before they begin working with children; while others are changed by the experience.

I once had a support department director candidate (who had never worked in a pediatric setting) remark that while he was on an interview with one of my children’s hospital clients, he had to step aside in the hallway to clear the way for a parade of children riding in and pulling red wagons….a first-time occurrence for him.  The incident left an impression on him.  Now, when he needs to be reinforced of his purpose, he only has to walk down the hall for a tangible reminder.

My daughter, who will enter her first year of nursing school in the fall has often commented that she doesn’t understand how I can spend so much time in children’s hospitals and leave feeling optimistic and renewed when she finds it so sad to see sick children.  I’ve always chosen to concentrate on the healing, rather than the sickness.  In a pediatric setting, it is so much more than using the most current diagnostics and delivering the latest treatment to young patients.

Recently, I visited a children’s hospital client in a major urban area.  As I was waiting for a taxi, I witnessed a clinical tech calling out for security.  He had just witnessed a mother aggressively beating her three-year-old child with a leather belt as she left the hospital and proceeded to do so as she stood at the bus stop across the street.  As police and security personnel ran out to address the situation, a swell of voices over my shoulder caught my attention. Some of the voices were defending the mother’s right to discipline her own child in the way she saw fit.  Others were lamenting the unfair nature of this type of person having a child in the first place, while other women who desperately want children are not able to have them. 

And there it was.  Like a brick wall.

At that moment I completely understood the gravity of the responsibility one feels to speak up for those who can’t speak up for themselves. 

I’ve worked with children’s hospitals for a number of years, and I’ve always counted them among my favorite clients.  But, now, I can honestly say, I get it.