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Nurses turn end of treatment into a party for pediatric patients

Thursday, January 31, 2019
By Bryan Roth
Nurses and pom poms

Shaking Duke blue pom-poms and playing upbeat music like Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop the Feeling” or Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” a team of nurses brings excitement to their young patients.

It’s a scene of celebration during each “port party” with perioperative and post-anesthesia staff at Duke Children's. The event brings as many as a dozen employees at a time. As a team, they cheer and congratulate patients getting port or central lines removed after treatment for cancer.

“It’s my favorite thing about this job because it’s such fun,” said Dawn Kirk, BSN, RN, CPEN, a clinical nurse IV with Perianesthesia. “It highlights everything we’ve been able to do for our patients and the good job we’ve done as a team and hospital.”

Each “party” is a surprise for a young patient. Nurses will hide out of sight until a child is wheeled out of their room to head to an operating room to have port or line removed. All of a sudden, staff are dancing, cheering and shaking pom-poms for them.

“It’s a celebration of their new beginning,” said Maria Ferido, RN, BSN, CPAN, a Perianesthesia clinical nurse IV. “There’s so much happiness and joy to share with them after they’ve made it so far and don’t need to see us anymore.”

Tammy Rogers, RN, CPEN, CEN, a Perianesthesia clinical nurse II, said each port party is a chance to remind patients how much their Duke staff cares about them. There are always happy faces, and sometimes happy tears, too.

“It’s like our whole family celebrating their whole family,” she said.