Marie Gaitan Finds Her Life’s Purpose as a Pediatric LPN
June 20, 2019
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
Marie Gaitan is an LPN who has worked in healthcare for almost a decade. She started her career in her home country of Haiti, where she worked for UNICEF. When she came to the United States, she wanted to continue caring for people. That’s how she ended up at Care Options for Kids, working in pediatric home healthcare.
Specifically, Marie likes to take care of the more difficult cases.
“I’ve been working with A.D. since soon after she was born,” she explains. “It’s been hard for a lot of nurses, but I’m fine with it. I can do it for ten or twelve hours a day.” A.D. is five years old, needs a gastronomy tube to eat and uses her wheelchair to get around.
When A.D. was born, she had difficulty breathing and eating. She went home on oxygen and had a feeding tube placed – to help her with nutrition. Regular daycare was not an option because she had medications and feedings. that required a nurse to administer.
On a typical day with A.D., Marie administers her feedings. “She has to eat four times a day. I also make her look beautiful for her mother. I go home so happy. Sometimes, I feel like I healed a family. With A.D., for example, her mom chose me. She knows she can tell me anything about A.D. She can go anywhere and leave her daughter with me. This is my life’s purpose.” With the love and trust between the family and Marie, A.D.’s mom says she can work without worry. Due to her daughter’s diagnosis, A.D’s mom became a nurse too.
In addition to taking care of A.D., Marie loves seeing her progress. “Not that long ago, she couldn’t even sit, but now she’s at an age where she can sit, and I very patiently teach her about the things she can do on her own. I give her my hand so she can hold on to my fingers and stand up every now and then. That helps her trust herself and it gives her confidence.”
Marie also prides herself on becoming part of the family for her clients and being available whenever they need her. She has such a good relationship with A.D., the mom regularly asks that whenever the nurse/patient relationship runs its course, Marie continues to come over and visit A.D. There is such a strong bond between Marie and the entire family.
“This makes me happy because I really do love the work and taking care of clients. I get along with all of them. And every night, when I go home, I think: ‘Did you do everything you could?”
Marie also enjoys working at Care Options for Kids. “The staff is so good and encouraging, and every time I get my schedule, I get a compliment. It’s not like I’m seeking them, but when you work hard, and your team notices, it makes you happy.”
She also likes to reminisce about when she first met A.D., five years ago.
“When I first visited her, my husband told me that it was too long to drive for just one day. I told him that I wasn’t coming for one day. I’m coming for a child who needs me.”