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Nurse Hannah talks about the impact of wishes on her patients...

Hannah, Paediatric Nurse

Seeing the children after their wish is very special for us, they are always full of stories of what an amazing time they had. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Hello, my name is Hannah and I have worked for nearly 2 years as a nurse on the Children’s Oncology Ward at Southampton General Hospital. Our ward treats children aged 0-16 years diagnosed with a range of conditions, specific to Haematology and Oncology.

Although we try to make sure our ward is a very happy and positive place, the children that we look after every day are often very poorly. Their treatment regimes are long and gruelling and really take their toll both physically and emotionally on our patients and their families.

hannah wearing a nurses uniform in hospital

The medicines we give the children to help fight their disease will in themselves make them feel poorly, often causing them to lose their appetite, energy and hair. We never know how each child is going to react to the treatment we give them – hence  the treatment journeys for each patient can be very unpredictable and scary.

Despite being poorly, most of the time our patients just want to forget about their illness and have fun like any other child their age. Make-A-Wish helps to facilitate this, giving children an opportunity to create amazing memories which they and their families will cherish forever. Knowing they are going to be granted a Make-A-Wish experience really gives the child something to look forward to, helping them get through tough times.

I’ve spoken to mums and dads of sick children who describe how wishes are also hugely beneficial to them. They always highlight just what a precious experience it is to see their child smiling and carefree, something they don’t get to see as often as they would like.

Seeing the children after their wish is very special for us, they are always full of stories of what an amazing time they had. Laughter really is the best medicine.

Sadly some of the children we refer are palliative. In these cases we are very aware that sometimes a wish is the last chance a family will have to spend quality time together. Make-A-Wish are able to grant wishes for these children in a timely manner – so they are able to make special memories whilst they’re still well enough to enjoy them.

I would encourage all health professionals to talk to their patients and their families about Make-A-Wish. Taking such a holistic approach to the care we provide ensures that we look after our patients in a way that will meet not only their physical, but also their emotional needs.

Being a nurse can be challenging and stressful at times, but seeing the children we treat happy, laughing and with a smile on their face really does make all of this worthwhile. I’d like to say a huge thank you to Make-A-Wish from all of us nurses in helping to make this happen.