"I love Mass General and the work I do as a nurse in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit."
Kathy O'Gara, Staff Nurse, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
"Our Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) has a very diverse patient population, from newborns up to 20-year old patients. It’s never the same day twice in terms of the cases we see, and increasingly, we are caring for patients with multisystem issues. The resources and support Massachusetts General Hospital offers to help us keep up with that complexity are exceptional.
We have so many opportunities for continuing education, and most of them are on campus and free to employees. On my unit, nurses must be certified in pediatric advanced life support, and I was able to obtain that certification with classes here on campus. It’s not just clinical training, though; there are classes on topics like relationship-based care and fostering cultural diversity. Notices about available classes are in our department newsletters and on the hospital’s “Excellence Every Day” website. You could take a class a week if you wanted to! Recently, I took a class about organ donation, focused on how to make families feel supported in whatever decisions they make.
My colleagues are also an incredible source of support, both professionally and personally. Each unit has a nursing director. The one on my unit is really approachable, and we have frequent staff meetings where there is a lot of give and take and input. I feel nursing is really supported at Mass General, and our voices are heard. We also have great relationships with the pediatric physicians and the entire multidisciplinary team.
On our unit we have a practice that, when our patients face difficult life situations, we get together and discuss it so we can verbalize our emotions and download. It’s challenging to see families in these circumstances, and having the opportunity to share with colleagues helps. There is a strong chaplaincy program here that supports patients, families and staff.
I’ve worked as a nurse at Mass General for more than 10 years, and I really can’t imagine working anywhere else. I still feel like there is room for me to grow professionally, and I am excited by those challenges, I love the people I work with, and I feel valued."