By Cheryl Kelley, BSN, RN
It has been almost 27 years since I first started at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Boston as a Northeastern University nursing co-op student. It was 1993; we were still in the old building, and I have such wonderful memories of working on 3 West. We had community meals with the kids; it was an old-fashioned open ward. We were always busy, but we worked together as a team. The acute and reconstructive patients and the OR were all on the same floor – we were all so close. It was really an amazing time!
I worked as a nurse on the reconstructive unit until 2006, and for the past 14 years I have been a part of the perioperative services department. I am a circulator in the OR. A circulator is responsible for ensuring the patient is admitted and does all the documentation for the surgery. I make certain that everyone respects the sterile field, that the patient is positioned appropriately, and that the scrub and the surgeon have everything they need for the procedure.
It is really special to care for the same patients time after time. They really do develop a bond and trust me to take good care of them. We have a fair amount of kids with pre-op anxiety, and it is so nice to be able to care for them continuously. The kids see a friendly familiar face and that makes them feel so comfortable. It is so amazing to be able to care for the kids during surgery and be the “voice” for them while they are asleep. I ensure that they are safe and that surgery goes well.
I have been motivated to stay at the Boston Shriners Hospital all these years because of our kids and their families. It is so nice to get to know the families and develop a bond and great relationships with them. It means so much to have families trust me to care for their child. I love seeing them come back for surgical procedures and “you just know them.” I have watched so many kids grow up just like my own.
The Boston Shriners Hospital is definitely full of love. We are certainly the premier pediatric burn hospital. I am very lucky to work with such a talented and amazing team, and I hope to have many more years here!
Thank you Cheryl for your tireless devotion to our patients over these many years!