Finding the right support for pediatric healthcare providers can be tough. However, with the advancements with technology and online platforms, people are able to connect and gather resources from around the world by a click of a button. It is pretty remarkable. We are thrilled to feature one of our Advisory Board Members, Brooke Batchelor, from The Paediatric Nurse who has proven to be a trailblazer in her field.

What is The Paediatric Nurse?

The Paediatric Nurse is an online learning platform for healthcare professionals working with children. The aim is to provide healthcare professionals with affordable CPD/CE opportunities that are flexible in their delivery, relevant to their practice and affordable all while making a difference in pediatric healthcare. The business is a profit-for-purpose business that will be redirecting profits to support and deliver programs that help children prepare for the hospital. Once that is all set up, we will start supporting nurses with play therapy course fees so that play can become embedded within the healthcare system. After this, I’m hoping to help support families of medically traumatized children to access Play Therapy services by contributing towards the costs involved in follow up care.

What inspired you to create it?

I remember starting a new job in a rural paediatric emergency. The paediatric emergency was a little seven bed bay that was ‘tacked onto’ an adult emergency. I was one of the first paediatric registered nurses ever employed there, as it had previously been staffed by adult nurses.

On my first shift there, I was told by a doctor to get the sheet and wrap a child up because he was going to insert an IV. I was horrified!

This started my mission of advocating for these children and ensuring that all staff became aware of the dangers of wrapping children up and performing painful procedures. I started to slowly educate them on alternative approaches that were less stressful for everyone as well as how to communicate and be honest with them. Honesty wasn’t really one of their policies and I often caught them coming up with these outrageous plans of getting the needle into the room and into the child without them knowing.

I’m happy to say that when new staff join this unit and attend a paediatric education day, they are all warned of the dangers of wrapping children up for procedures. They’ve made a lot of improvements!

What is your vision of optimal pediatric care?

I look forward to the day when family-centered care is no longer a buzz word and instead is just part of what we do every day. I would love to see children have more of a voice in healthcare so that they can grow up truly believing that they have a right to say what can and cannot happen to their body. I know that this brings up a lot of protest such as, ‘but they have to have it done!’ or ‘they don’t really know what’s good for them!’ but I challenge that. I think children are able to comprehend and make decisions about their healthcare. They are capable of negotiating how it is done when we allow for some compromise. They’re also capable of agreeing to painful procedures even when they don’t really want to. It just requires some creativity and an empathetic adult to build their trust and support them throughout the procedure.

Can you share a story of a child receiving this type of care?

The first time I managed to convince a doctor in my previous unit to follow my lead, it was magic! I still remember how elated I felt!

I had a two year old girl who needed a blood draw. She was really sick, but we had a little time up our sleeves. I told her what we were going to do and that her Mum could stay with her while it happened.

I asked everyone in the room to be quiet while they did the procedure and I spoke with her. She cried and I acknowledged her pain. She resettled. She cried again. I stroke her head and acknowledged her cries. She resettled again.

The procedure ran very smooth and she sat still for the better part of it. We only had to stick the needle once and we got what we needed within two minutes.

Afterwards, the Registrar couldn’t stop raving to her colleagues about how easy it was, how calm the whole room was and how I spoke so gently with the child. She even called me a ‘child whisperer’ – it makes me laugh every time I think of this because any one could do it.

It was this procedure that changed everything for me at my work. I had received so much protest about not wrapping them up and being too honest with them until this point. After this, even the emergency consultants were listening and willing to give my ‘crazy ideas’ a go.

Tell us a little more about you?

I live in Townsville, Australia with my husband and two daughters aged 7 and 5.

I was recently diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder- this has resulted in me leaving the clinical nursing space and pouring my energy into helping other nurses be the best they can at their jobs.

I am studying to be a yoga teacher because I found it incredibly helpful for me when I first had children and suffered Postnatal Depression and I’d like to help my community of nurses achieve a healthy work-life balance too.

I am honored to be part of the Advisory Board with the Standish Foundation and look forward to supporting their efforts in improving paediatric healthcare too.