By Rebecca Bogan, BSN, RN-BC
As nurses, we are trusted to provide the highest quality care for each patient to make their journey a little more bearable. It’s a rewarding and inspiring honor, and a responsibility that we never take lightly. But it also can be demanding, stressful and sometimes heartbreaking. Some days we want to quit. Most days we wish we could do more. Every day, we hope we make a difference.
At Children’s Minnesota, we care for, guide and fight with our patients. Sadly, we can’t win every battle. Yet, even on the darkest days, our team weaves compassion, humor, kindness and fun into our patient care.
In spring 2015, my hematology/oncology team had been dealing with several stressful and emotional patient-related situations at once. It was a low point for many of us. One day during my drive home after a particularly challenging day at work, “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten began playing on the radio. As I listened to the lyrics, images of my patients and co-workers flashed through my mind. As the song ended, my head was spinning with ideas for a video — an opportunity to highlight my amazing team and remind them how important they are when they fight alongside patients in their battles.
A plan comes together
When I arrived home, I immediately sent the song to my nurse manager and soon after was granted approval by the hospital to create a video. The next step was to contact Rachel Platten, which I did via Facebook — of all places. She was thrilled with the idea and put me in touch with her manager to coordinate permission to use the song. Because my proposal was spontaneous and unplanned, the hospital did not have available funds for a professional videographer, but I was determined to make this happen. I owned a video camera and have a video editing program on my computer, so why not put them to use?
The last thing I wanted to do was jeopardize the care of my patients during my shifts, so I came to work on my days off to capture footage. The process took a few months.
Creating the video was one of the most inspiring things I’ve ever done. Being able to portray the pure optimism and resilience in each child and the compassion of the care team, was incredibly motivating. Our time filming was nothing short of entertaining and hilarious. The process spread laughs and lifted spirits throughout the hospital, which can often be filled with tears and pain. But don’t get me wrong — there were definitely a few moments of utter frustration, as well.
One of my goals was to include everyone on our team in the video, which proved to be a challenge, given all the varying schedules. Thankfully, a co-worker helped me film the night shift crew, and in the end we were able to include almost everyone. Also, editing a video as an amateur is harder than it looks. In hindsight, I realize this project could have been a major flop, but luckily I had inspirational footage to work with.
I began recording the video clips in March and completed the video in April. It was released in May for public viewing on YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and the hospital website. The response was beyond anything I could have imagined. My goal was to make a fun video for our immediate care team — something to boost the morale of our unit. I can’t begin to describe what it feels like to know the video has touched so many others. To date, between YouTube (292,666), Facebook (106,955) and Vimeo (2,802), the video has received almost 500,000 hits. I have been asked if we are going to do another video. There are no official plans for now — that is, unless I hear the next perfect song.
In the weeks that followed, I received emails from people I had never met, who said the video moved them to tears. I was contacted by families who once had, or currently have, a child hospitalized at Children’s Minnesota. They explained how the video reminded them of the amazing team that cared for their child.
Nurses tell me that when they are feeling discouraged about their jobs, they watch the video and are reminded why we are here doing what we do every day. Personally, I am reminded of the reason I became a nurse, which was to make a difference.
Knowing that this video has made such an impact leaves me with feelings of astonishment and disbelief. Making the video took a lot of effort and time, but the amount of work was nothing compared with the energy our patients, families and care team spend to fight disease every day. When I watch the video, I see these unbelievably strong and resilient kids. I see their parents holding their hands, holding them up and cheering them on in their fight. And I see my co-workers — the people who refuse to let challenges keep them down and who put everything they have into the care they provide. To me, each person in this video is an extraordinary fighter. •
Rebecca Bogan, BSN, RN-BC, has been a pediatric nurse at Children’s Hospital and Clinics of Minnesota for 15 years. She has worked on the cancer and blood disorders unit for five years.
To watch the video, visit bit.ly/236GwcG.
View continuing education modules on cancer and treatment at Nurse.com/CE/oncology.
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