Name: Jannel Gooden, BSN, RN
Profession: Pediatric Critical Care Registered Nurse
Why did you decide to pursue this profession?
I did not have that earth-shattering, profound moment that inspired me to pursue this profession. It’s not why I started but why I choose to continue in my practice as a nurse. The children I work with inspire me to work harder and grow softer. It’s been such a beautiful journey in pediatrics and it’s still unfolding.
What is the most challenging aspect of your profession?
The most challenging thing about being a pediatric nurse is looking a patient in the eye and reassuring them that we are doing our best as a team. Knowing they want me to say, “It’s going to be fine” when I know that is not always the reality.
What motivates you to keep going after a particularly difficult day at work?
The children I work with. They are so resilient. They manage to muster a smile even after they had endured the hardest times in their lives. They are so very forgiving. You’ll have to be the “bad guy” sometimes, meaning you’ll have to carry out some really important tasks that might seem scary to them. They’ll cry out but let you love on them after. They still grant you the honor of caring for them despite those scary moments. How dare I not get over myself when they cope with so much daily.
What advice do you have for someone starting out in the nursing field?
Find your voice. Your whole career is dependent on you finding it. Find your voice so you can advocate for yourself, but more importantly, so you can advocate for your patients. As a new nurse, you’ll shy away from most moments that bring attention to you, but one day, you’ll speak up. Embrace it.
What is your most memorable moment with a patient?
One day at around 6PM, my charge nurse asked me to take on another assignment because a patient had been transferred to my area. For that entire shift – for 12 hours – I had only had one patient, so I didn’t really want to take the assignment. I was being kind of crabby about it and even told the nurse that was giving me the patient, “I’m not going to take report for you because it’s so late. I’ll just keep an eye on her for you.” When I’d transferred the patient into her new room and was starting to walk out, I heard her tapping on the bed. She had a trach and was unable to speak, so she tapped on the bed to get my attention. When I turned around, she had her hand out for me. I went closer, and she held my hand and closed her eyes. All she wanted to do was hold my hand and feel at peace knowing someone was there with her. For the next hour, we sat holding hands. That is honestly my most memorable moment as a pediatric nurse.
Who is your superhero?
I don’t even need to think twice. It’s my mother. All my life, I’ve watched her be really, really strong. Now that I’m a young woman, I finally understand the weight of the sacrifices she’s made to give me the opportunity to pursue my dreams. She really inspires me – not just in her strength, but in her softness – and I aspire to be a little more like her every day.
Have a question for Jannel? Leave it in the comments below!