Nursing as perceived by children

Pearl Lorentzen
Lakeside Leader

In honour of Nurses Week, The Leader reporter asked members of a Grade 2 class from St. Mary of the Lake Catholic School and the Grade 1 and 2 class from Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School questions about nurses.

This revealed that children have a decent understanding of nursing and the gender stereotypes that many of us unwittingly hold about nurses.

“A nurse is a female doctor,” Jayce Driedger says. “They help people when they are sick.”

Slave Lake does have at least one male nurse and more than one female doctor, but nursing is still a predominately female profession.

Interestingly, International Nurses Day falls on Mother’s Day this year, May 12. The week leading up to that is National Nurses Week.

A common theme in the students’ answers was that nurses help people. Many adults might begin with something similar.

“Help people,” Ember Gullion and Rhya Kearney both say.

“Help you,” Adrian Lee says. “Healing you.”

“They help you keep safe,” Jordon Brown says. “And if you are hurt they help you feel better.”

“A person who helps,” Timothy Dyck says. “They save people’s lives. They help people very much.”

“When we’re in trouble the nurses help us out,” Emily Sparrow says.

Some kids also give specific examples, some of which might fall more under the realm of doctors or other health professionals, but are definitely within the range of health care workers.

“They check people’s lungs, (and) their heart, if they aren’t breathing very good,” Sitar Lee Auger says. “They also do surgery.”

“They give checkups,” Chloee-Ann Boissonneault says.

“I’m thankful for the nurses because they help the grown-up girls when it’s time for the babies to be born,” James Arca says.

“I’m thankful for them that they try to keep our families safe, and the people in the world safe,” Gullion says.

“I’m thankful that they help us when we’re hurt or sick” Sparrow says. “Because they make sure we’re okay and try and help us survive.”

“Making people better,” Auger says.

“They tell your parents if your body is good or bad,” Boissonneault says.

“I’m glad that they tell you before what they do,” Driedger says.

According to the Canadian Nurses Association website, the theme this year is ‘Nurses: A Voice to Lead – Health for All’, which comes from the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

‘A Voice to Lead’ is drawn from the fact that “every nurse has a story and every story has the potential to improve the health system and enable individuals and communities to achieve their highest attainable standard of health. From these insights comes the power for change,” ICN says.

‘Health for All’ means “not just the availability of health services, but a complete state of physical and mental health that enables a person to lead a socially and economically productive life,” ICN says.

Like many people, the children were all thankful to nurses for something, even if they couldn’t put it into words.

The final student at St. Mary said, “they took all my answers” to what are you grateful to nurses for.

Nurses Week cards aren’t a thing yet, but if you are grateful to a nurse for something, National Nurses Week and Nurses Day are the perfect opportunity to thank him or her.

Grade 2 students from St. Mary of the Lake Catholic School give insight into how children view nurses and what they are grateful for regarding nurses do. Left to right: Jordon Brown, Adrian Lee, James Arca, Ember Gullion and Emily Sparrow.
Grade 1 and Grade 2 students from Slave Lake Koinonia Christian School answered some questions about nurses. Chloee-Ann Boissonneault is in the front. In the back, Left to right: Timothy Dyck, Rhya Kearney, Jayce Driedger, and Sitar Lee Auger.

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