As a sixth student in Chadron, Nebraska, Jami Kumm discovered her life’s work as a nurse after reading a book about a young girl dealing with cancer.
In a family full of educators, Kumm was the first to enter the medical field, but “I knew right away that I wanted to be the cool nurse who helps people,” she said. “I never hesitated from that goal.”
After graduating from nursing school in Scottsbluff, she found her passion working with children in pediatric hospital wards in South Dakota, Colorado and Nebraska, including the past 13 years in Pediatrics at Regional West Medical Center.
“I absolutely love kids – there’s nothing better than getting hugs from patients or their parents,” she said. “That’s when you know you’ve done something right.”
Being a pediatric caregiver requires a special set of clinical and bedside skills to help patients and families with both routine visits and illness. Pediatric patients do not always understand why they are undergoing certain examinations and treatments; Good rapport can help make what seems like an unpleasant experience a little easier. Kumm admits that he is “just a big kid himself” and doesn’t think of playing on the floor with her youngest patients as a way to bond and gain their trust.
“Honesty and open communication are the keys to connecting,” she said. “Taking the time to actually connect with patients and families provides the opportunity to play a key role in a child’s life when they need you most.”