jeni-choc-childrens-picu-nurse-today

My Journey from PICU Patient to PICU Nurse

By Jeni Arganbright, registered nurse in the CHOC Children’s pediatric intensive care unit

As a premature baby I experienced a severe lung complication that would go on to affect my early years of childhood. When I was 9 years old, I acquired eosinophilic pneumonia, a disease where a type of white blood cell accumulates in your lungs and makes it difficult to breathe. This led to some serious respiratory problems for me. My parents brought me to the hospital, where I was admitted to the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU). I had to be intubated, which means that my doctors inserted a tube through my mouth and into my airway to help me breathe. I stayed in the PICU for a month before my breathing was stabilized and I was fully recovered from the pneumonia. I later had another serious bout of this same health complication with similar results.

jeni-picu-nurse-intubated
As a child, Jeni was a patient in a pediatric intensive care unit. That experience inspired her to pursue a career as a PICU nurse.

Since that time, I have been fine and never acquired such serious respiratory health issues. During my two stays in the hospital as a young child I was left with a tremendous amount of appreciation for the nurses that cared for me. What impressed me the most was the sincerity in which they offered their medical care for me, on both a personal and professional level. I was not just another patient for them to care for, but someone they had a deep concern for, and someone for whom they lovingly offered support. I remember the nurses worrying with my parents about my health, as well as celebrating my good days and eventual release from the hospital. I later thought what a wonderful opportunity to be in a profession where someone could come to work every day and offer sincere and caring support for both a small child as well as their family members. I wish all parents knew how much we care and also share in their emotional worries about their child.

My advice to new nurses is to do your job with the highest level of professionalism combined with openly expressing your sincere care and concern for the child and his/her parents.

Learn more about the pediatric intensive care unit at CHOC

Related posts:

One thought on “My Journey from PICU Patient to PICU Nurse”

  1. Wow! An amazing story! You are an inspiration to many to go through with what you have been through as a child and then to grow as not only to be a caring professional but caring deep within your heart to be their for your patients and their families on a personal level. You are an amazin gbc person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *