During our lives we never fully know the impact we make on others. It could be a small gesture as saying hello and smiling to a stranger or buying someone’s meal that is behind you. That gesture could make their entire day, because we never know what they could be going through. They could have just received some devastating news: a diagnosis, a loved one passing away, finances. Anything. That one simple random act of kindness changed their entire day. And it was all because of you.
How do we do this within the healthcare field? Easy, right? Not entirely so. We have bad days where we just want to throw it all in. We want to scream at someone, eat an entire mega milkshake (milkshake, cake on top and a lollypop—NYC!) or just want to do anything except our work. However, we can’t leave our patients and their families. We must stay there and suffer through the bad moments. We all have them. If someone says they don’t (in any line of work) they are lying. During the hard times, we have to look on the bright side (hard I know), but when you have those special moments with a patient, family or even a co-worker it is all worth it. Even if it is only for a few moments or maybe even a couple of days. You helped make that person’s life a little better, a little brighter.
In the past six weeks of my internship, I have changed several families lives. More than what I probably realize. For example, I had a parent tell me I had become famous with one of her friend’s families. Her friend texted her and said “Make sure you ask for Ashley, she is a Child Life Specialist student. She is amazing. During my son’s visit last week, she blew bubbles and made our stay at the hospital amazing. She went out of her way to make us feel welcomed and comfortable.” She looked up from her phone after reading and asked. “Are you Ashley?” I smiled and said yes (even though I already introduced myself).
Another example would be when I was in ENDO surgery and I had a parent tell me that she was so grateful for me. The parent was scared for her child and seeing her child interacting with me through our love of Grey’s Anatomy and fried pickles, the mom knew than that her daughter would be fine and that, she (the parent) could freak out on the inside and that was okay. It was okay for her to freak out, because she knew that I was going to be with her daughter. As I talked to the mom in the waiting room, she gave me a hug and told me that I was going to make an amazing child life specialist and that you could tell that I loved doing what I did.
Or even when I am in the ER and a parent tells me that they thought I was the actual child life specialist and not a student. The parent thought I did that good of a job prepping and distracting their child during a painful procedure. That was how impressed the parent was with me with their toddler.
Moments like those I just mentioned every child life specialist and every healthcare professional wants. Even when we have hard days, we need to remember that we are making differences. Even if we can’t see it. We are! People are always watching us. Healthcare professionals, parents and patients. Make that impact a good one, because you only get one shot to do so.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
P.S Happy Mental Health Awareness Month!
Until Next Time!