SLEEPING SOUNDLY, 5-year-old Malia moved slowly in her bed, teddy and blanket close to her side.
SLEEPING SOUNDLY, 5-year-old Malia moved slowly in her bed, teddy and blanket close to her side. Kristen had come into her room, following her assignment, checking on her patient. Yes, IV intact and chemo running without incident (check). Breathing, pulse and temperature all within normal limits (check). Child’s positioned well, good alignment and bed linens clean and orderly (check). Side rails up and call light close (check). It was a routine day for Kristen, who is an excellent and experienced pediatric oncology nurse, but for Malia it was a dream come true.
MALIA OPENED HER EYES wide and said, “Cinderella, is that really you?” Kristen has an attractive face (she is Chinese and German), her light brown-blonde hair tied back loosely this day, and she was wearing a blue scrub top. The light from a nearby window shown on her hair and it glistened. Kristen smiled widely, a sweet, warm smile and said, “Yes, my dear; I am here to care for you with love and all my attention.” Malia smiled back and laughed. “Nurse Kristen…You are my Cinderella!”
Kristen is an extraordinary nurse who can be “Cinderella” in one room and go to the next one to hold the hand of a palliative care patient who is taking their last breaths. All this with integrity, warmth, sincerity and excellence skills.
Kristen is a teacher and mentor to the younger generation of oncology nurses, able to tell true and touching stories about her patients, while also teaching the medical aspects of leukemia and other cancers. She gets down to the nitty-gritty with staff, teaching them important points of actual nursing care, including clinical information to make our jobs go more smoothly.
Kristen is an integral member of the team, using good communication with physician, occupational therapists and physical therapists, nutritionists, social workers, child life specialists, psychiatrists and fellow nurses. Patients and families often ask if Kristen could be “their child’s nurse.”
“Cinderella” moves through her day with a smooth energy flow, giving heart-centered care with an impeccable demeanor. Her scrubs could easily be traded for an elaborate sequenced ball gown!
“Cinderella” also makes annual appearances at the Cancer Camp for children of all ages, and especially one for teens with cancer. She comes incognito in shorts and a T-shirt, but her golden heart abides. She acts as counselor to teens with issues of body image, loss, school and peer problems and fears and worries. This teen camp allows for expression to professionals and an opportunity to grow and mature with them, as well as fellow survivors. Kristen is a strong counselor and role model.
Kristen is truly a “Cinderella” of pediatric oncology nursing, as she is very humble and open but professional and conservative in her ways. She would quietly laugh and tell the story about Malia but is one who rather been doing her work, instead of in the limelight. But beware, when you would least expect it, a whole hallway of admirers could come down upon Kristen, offering a glass slipper to the one who is the true “Princess Cinderella” of pediatric oncology nursing. Ah, yes. It fits!
Thank you, Kristen, for this and all of the “Cinderella Moments” you have brought to patients at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children!