Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Maternal Child Critical Care Program:Perspective of a Graduate

Warning: to all readers, if you are reading this I assume that you understand that you are about to enter the nerd-dom of Maternal Child Critical Care Certificate Program (MC-CCCP) NOT the original of adults in CCCP. This is the world of patients the size of teacup poodle puppies. This is NOT the world of ER re-runs and those ever-popular shots of scrub-bedecked heroes running down endless halls and pumping with all their might on the chests of unresponsive patients. This is the world of two-finger compressions, micro-changes in IV calculations, tiny bodies that require exquisitely careful care and much peace and quiet, inexpressible joy, broken hearts and messed-up homes. Welcome to MC-CCCP.

As noted, this is not adult CCCP. When I took it last year, we did not operate or run codes like the CCCP students. We spent more time in lecture and with guest speakers and less time running mock codes than our “adult” neighbors last year. Most of our practice was self-taught, with us designing and running our own scenarios. Considering the feedback we got from instructors after we all passed NRP and PALS, we were a pretty demanding set of self-teachers! All that to say, if you take MC-CCCP, you need to be motivated to learn. Like all of the nursing program, you get results in proportion to the effort you make.

If you do persevere and learn, it is a program you will never forget. I had the incredible privilege of working in a NICU. It was a small one and by weekend #2, my instructors were turning me loose to do basics on my own (with them only a few feet away in the tiny department). By the last weekend I was essentially put in charge of the patients assigned to my instructor and myself. I had the joy of watching the light bulb come on in a tiny child’s mind as he finally understood the idea of nursing from a special preemie bottle and took a giant step toward going home. I got to share that joy when his mom came to see him. My heart broke as I cared for and loved on babies only to meet their families, people unprepared for this responsibility. One had not even wanted the babies in the first place and could not make it into the department without crying. Then there was the one father who could win a smile from his tiny daughter and make her calm down and go to sleep against his chest, staying as long as he could just to be with her. Above all was the wonder and joy of working with some of the most beautiful creations God ever designed and sent to give us a taste of what unconditional love is and demands.
Fun epilogue: I do not currently work with any of the patient populations we covered in MC-CCCP. God has placed me for a time in long-term care and rehab. However, the skills of MC-CCCP have shown up here too! I was trained to face the worst, which makes it easier to prioritize and keep a levelheaded approach to a constant deluge of problems of all sizes. There are also basic concepts that apply to everyone: everyone must breathe, their hearts must pump and blood must circulate. And everyone is hungry for unconditional love. 

The above post was written by Elizabeth Houser, RN and graduate of the MC-CCCP

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