Holly Burdette loves working with children because they make her laugh.
“When I see a change in the kids and know they’re starting to feel better — as they say, kids say the darnedest things, and they are hilarious! It’s the best,” she says.
Burdette, who has been with Brenner Children’s Hospital for 9½ years, says the secret to her success is in how she connects with her patients: “Play with them,” she says.
She and others on the team give stickers, goodies from the prize box, or let patients watch their favorite TV show or movie during procedures.
Health care runs in Burdette’s family. “My dad is an ER physician. My grandma’s a nurse,” she says. “I just decided nursing is what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work with children in whatever I did.” Hearing their stories and watching them get better is amazing, she says. “It’s nice forming relationships with the parents and families as well, and just the gratefulness they have for us doing what we do as nurses.”
Those relationships can be difficult because parents are often upset about what’s happening, she says. “Stay calm and listen to them” is her advice. She says parents know their children best. “And that’s not something we say just to make them feel better. We rely so heavily on the parents’ input, especially when the child can’t speak for him or herself.”
On her unit, she sees the same children more frequently. “There’s one specific little girl who I’ve taken care of for almost seven years. I started with her when she was 3 months old. She always asks for me when she comes in and is excited to see me,” Burdette says, laughing. “It’s mutual. I just really like taking care of her and I’ve gotten close to her whole family,” she says. “Luckily, in the unit that I work on, the kids usually do really well and get to go home and just be kids again.”
When not working, Burdette enjoys trying new restaurants, going to the beach, rooting for West Virginia University, and spending time with her boyfriend and dogs.