The Power Behind “Magic” Band-Aids

Posted December 15, 2015 by Katrina McCarty, MPA

Katrina McCarty


"We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude." — Cynthia Ozcik

For many years I took my health and healthcare for granted until I had a reason not to. My experience with an unruptured brain aneurysm profoundly changed my perspective, and my role as a parent is causing it to change even more.

A friend and healthcare leader who both helped bring me to NICHQ and to realize this new perspective, sums it beautifully: "Time, authentic relationships, continuity, trust and empathy are the foundation of true healthCARE1." The emphasis on relationships between doctors, patients and families resonates deeply with my own experience, as well as what I see in my work at NICHQ.

This is the lens through which I see my 4-year-old daughter’s relationship with her pediatrician, Dr. Z. It starts with "magic" Band-Aids, but it is about so much more.

Magic Band-AidsAfter giving her shots, Dr. Z gives my daughter amazing, sparkly Band-Aids. (Pediatricians somehow have the market cornered on cool adhesive bandages.) Dr. Z unwraps them, and my girl is entranced. Dr. Z shows my daughter how they sparkle and says they are magic. My daughter needed two shots at her last visit, and the Band-Aids stuck around for several days and several baths after because my girl didn’t want to take the magic off.

What sticks with me is how Dr. Z cares for my daughter as a whole little person. She builds trust with my daughter one visit at a time. At 4 years old, my daughter is talking up a storm and absorbing information like a sponge and our visits with her doctor are increasingly interactive. It's adorable.

"Dr. Z, my nose spray smelled like chocolate cake," she says. Dr. Z giggles and tells her a little boy said his smelled like broccoli. It's a little conversation that means the world. My daughter loves seeing Dr. Z.

The older my daughter gets the more I realize the visits with her doctor are setting an important stage. This relationship may subtly or profoundly shade how my daughter views herself, her body, her health, her relationships and even her dreams—what we can see we may believe we can become. Dr. Z is empathetic, smart, patient and caring. She is what I wish all doctors could be, for kids, for all of us.

These things I don’t take for granted:
  • Dr. Z meets my girl at her level. She talks with my daughter, not at her. If my daughter seems anxious, tired, sad or wired, Dr. Z tones her actions and words accordingly. She takes time with us and remembers things about my girl that show she cares and listens.
  • She gives my daughter space to ask questions. Dr. Z asks my daughter if she has questions about her body or anything else. Even if she doesn't get an answer, she opens the door. Someday Dr. Z just might hear a lot. I'm grateful Dr. Z might become someone my daughter trusts to talk to about things she might not want to discuss with me.
  • She explains what she is doing AND in terms my daughter can understand. She speaks with a vocabulary tuned to the age and development of my daughter. She talks about the magic Band-Aids or says her special light looks like the moon. My daughter can relate to that. She names body parts and how they work so my daughter can learn. She isn't talking down to my daughter; she is reaching out.
  • She talks to my daughter about how important it is that her body is hers. At our last appointment, she talked in simple, caring and important language about why she was going to examine under my daughter's underpants. She talked about why it's important that my daughter or I (as mom) give consent. 
  • Dr. Z is a profound ally in raising a confident, empowered and healthy little girl. And I am so grateful for the lessons she teaches my daughter–and myself–at every visit.


Katrina McCarty is the grants and contract manager at NICHQ.

1. Thomas H. Dahlborg, MSHSM, Relationship Centered Compassionate Care / Servant and Relationship Centered Leadership, Author-Speaker-Consultant-Advisor, Dahlborg Healthcare Leadership Group, 2015

Share:

Add your comment

 
 

 

Archive

Tagcloud

QI quality improvement sustainabilty im coiin nichq preterm birth Baby-Friendly breastfeeding Pediatric journal Best Fed Beginnings infant health safe sleep tips PDSA cycle baby box infant mortality family engagement eccs coiin immunizations health equity health disparities accreditation astho onboarding collaboration engagement partnerships larc nashp new york wic new york state hospitals mom mother partners epilepsy data AAP early childhood pdsas texas community support learning session children's health new technology engineering transgender collaborative learning planning PDSA planning paralysis underplanning analysis paralysis vision eye health smoking smoke-free housing second-hand smoke toolkit e-module dental care oral health underserved populations health inequity public health Maternal and Child Health Journal leadership engagement Sickle cell disease indiana SCD medicaid perinatal regionalization sudden infant death syndrome national birth defects prevention month birth defects pregnancy planning one key question prepregnancy health preconception health public breastfeeding support families patients experts insights CHOPT childhood obesity innovation food desert telemedicine TBLC breastfeeding supporting prematurity racial disparities audiology ehdi follow-up illinois talana hughes vulnerable populations sports asthma soccer basketball obesity football SIDS Pokemon Go gamification smartphones interconception care birth spacing issue brief contraceptive use postpartum care CoIN HRSA early childhood trauma NHSA community health consumer advocacy womens health interconception health teenage health PATCH wisconsin missouri risk appropriate care community health workers SCD< infographic infant mortality awareness month inspirations childrens health national breastfeeding month maternal health patient engagement hearing loss hearing treatment pediatric vision vision screening eyesight pre-term birth early-term birth SCD clinic los angeles LOCATe CDC levels of care neonatal care maternal care smoking cessation project safe sleep practices neonatal abstinence syndrome NAS opioids maternal and child health MCH Family voices quality care mental health hydroxyurea SCDTDP men dads testing change data sharing state government city government apps sleep AJPM preconception care senior leadership breastfeeding support video series access BQIH exclusive breastfeeding long-acting reversible contraception unplanned pregnancies social determinants of health health innovations Best Babies Zone CoIIN baby boxes Rhode Island progesterone rooming-in parent partner patient and family engagement healthy weight healthy lifestyles primary care telementoring ECHO video conferencing socioemotional health childhood development pediatric Tennessee interview National Coordinating and Evaluation Center medical-legal partnerships mobile app disparities perinatal care overweight obese healthy weight clinic wellness pilot sites data collection education resources paternal engagement risk-appropriate care preterm infants high-risk babies Ten Steps public relations social movement reversible contraceptives medical home pediatric medical home patient transformation facilitator PTF skin-to-skin rooming in prenatal smoking information visualization charts SUID postpartum new mother webinar AMCHP QI Tips ongoing improvement fourth trimester partnership quality and safety coaching leadership support year end holiday message reflections gratitute Medicaid data doctor relationship PQC perinatal quality collaboratives vision care vision health evidence-based guidelines ASH health and wellness healthy living healthy eating home visitors home visiting programs March of Dimes APHA results evaluation supplementation formula reduction video infant loss social media advocacy leadership Berns Ten Steps to Successful Breastfeeding sustainability stress prenatal care data capacity epidemiologists surveillance data PFAC community partners preconception and interconception care motivational interviewing Native Americans ADHD NICHQ Vanderbilt Assessment Scale ADHD Toolkit system design care coordination skin to skin newborn screening reduce smoking aim statement safe birth Texas Ten Step skin-to-skin contact 10 Steps staff training small tests acute care mother-baby couplet collective impact population health preconception Newborn Screening Program substance abuse breast milk formula milk bank crisis first responders NYC improvement healthcare health system sickle cell diease treatment protocol family health partner maternity care Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network Health Outcomes Cross-Sector Collaboration Knowledge Sharing Child Health