By Matthew Cyr
Josh Bourgeois, RN, BSN
5 years as a nurse in the Cardiac Intensive Care Unit
The CICU is a very intense place. What drew you to
I love the acuity of it. A lot of the babies have heart defects
of varying severity, from holes in the heart to hypoplastic left
heart syndrome, which is a congenital syndrome involving several
abnormalities of the heart and blood vessels. We’re the only
pediatric heart center in New England that deals with HLHS, and
the only pediatric heart transplant center in the northeast. We
do over a thousand open heart surgery cases a year on patients from
around the country and the world.
Is it hard to take care of such sick children?
It’s important to remember that underneath all of the technology
there is someone’s child that you’re caring for and
that makes it easier to deal with. It’s such an exact science
here that it usually goes the way you expect. On the other hand
there are kids who are very complex and I deal with them and their
parents longer. It gets a little harder the more time I’ve
spent with the family, but we have the lowest mortality rate in
the country, so the vast majority do well.
How is your experience taking care of these patients
different than that of a doctor?
I usually have only one or two patients at a time so I’m with
the child constantly. I see nuances that could lead to complications.
There are 22 other patients on this unit who are just as sick as
the one I have so I have to tell the doctors what’s going
on. The physicians rely on the nurses and our experience to assist
them in the care of these patients.
What challenges do you face in your job?
One thing people always ask me about is death and dying. We deal
with that, but not on a daily basis. When it happens, our job goes
from taking care of the baby to taking care of the family. You really
have to take your cues from the parents about what they need. And
that’s not just with the death of a child. People deal with
illness differently so we have to adjust our style to help them
see past all this equipment. A big part of helping them is non-verbal
actions to make them realize everything is going okay.
>> NEXT >>
nursing at Children’s, contact Cindy Zilch in the Children’s
Hospital Trust at (617) 355-2416 or firstname.lastname@example.org.