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news News Sunday, May 5, 2019 Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:29 PM - Thursday, May 2, 2019 1:29 PM

Nurses Week 2019: Early visit to hospital inspires Boston nurse's career path

Nurses Week 2019: Early visit to hospital inspires Boston nurse's career path

This week we are celebrating all things nurses! Nurses Week is an opportunity to thank our nurses for their dedication to patient care and commitment to advancing their practice.

Earlier this year, Chelmsford High School students came for their annual visit to the Boston Shriners Hospital. They brought donations and attended an educational session about our services. It turns out that one of our nurses attended Chelmsford High School and had a very early introduction to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston when she was the same age as the students. It was a moment that changed her life forever. We sat down with inpatient nurse Amanda Barnes, RN, to learn about her journey to becoming a nurse at the Boston Shriners Hospital.

How did you first learn about Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston?  

A: I first learned of Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston when I was a teenager in high school, in the spring of 2005 when a friend was a patient here.

What was your first visit to the hospital like?

A: My first visit to Shriners was nerve-wracking. I can remember being afraid of walking into the room and seeing my friend for the first time. I had never before seen anyone so hurt. I remember where he was, and what the room looked like. A nurse could see my hesitation. I still today cannot remember the nurse’s face but I can remember how she made me feel. She explained everything that was going on with him and what I was looking at. She made me feel so comfortable in such an uncomfortable situation.

Did knowing a patient here at a young age make an impression on you?

A: Yes. I remember feeling so sad for my friend that was so badly injured. You never expect something bad to happen to you when you are young; you see yourself as invincible. My friend’s injury was a big wake-up call not only to me but our community that we need to be safer.

How did your early exposure to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston impact your education and career?

A: I can remember all through high school knowing that I wanted to be a nurse. At that time, I did not have a great understanding of what a nursing job looked like. However, I knew that the nurse that I met at Shriners that day made me feel comfortable and that is what I wanted to do for people. The anxiety she helped me through that day was strong.

Every year your high school brings students to the hospital for a day of learning. How does it make you feel to know students from your high school still come to visit?

A: I am very proud of my high school and the work they do for the patients here. I was touched to come visit them on their tour here. It was nice to talk to them and tell them a little about myself.

What is your advice to anyone who is considering becoming a nurse?

A: I love my profession and the freedoms it allows me in my life. I love the people I work alongside and the little lessons I have taken each step of my career. I am a big advocate of self-care. I think for any nurse to become a good caregiver they must learn how to take care of themselves first.

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

A: The most rewarding part of my job is the recovery we see kids make. Being that we are a combined floor I see kids in their most sick state and their most optimal state ready to go home. For kids that are in intensive levels of care there is always a mental journey that you can observe the kid go through. The most beautiful part of the patient’s journey is when they realize they are not here forever; they will be going home. A light kind of goes off and you can see their excitement in everything. Knowing you are part of that child’s journey to rise from within I think is the most rewarding part of working here.

Thank you, Amanda, and thank you to all our nurses who make the care at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston possible.