This gorgeous photo is of a Nurse Practitioner and my son Aaron – it was used by a pediatric nursing textbook. I love two things about this picture:
1. It shows a lovely, positive connection between a health professional and a ‘patient’.
2. It shows a child with a visible disability.
I find that so many images associated with children’s hospitals, and foundations for children’s hospitals are of white, ‘typical’ looking kids. That really bugs me. These are not the children sitting in their clinic waiting rooms! There are many kids of ethnic backgrounds, and lots of kids who are in wheelchairs, who have syndromes, who have cerebral palsy…these are the kids who frequent children’s hospitals.
Why are children chosen who look like classic models? Or if the child does have a visible disability, are the photos styled carefully so the disability is minimized or hidden. Is the face of children’s hospitals a child who looks supposedly healthy? Is that the promise of pediatric health care – that after accessing services and care there, all kids will walk out ‘healthy’? It doesn’t work that way for all families. Many of us have children with disabilities that just aren’t curable (nor do we necessarily want our kids cured – but that’s another blog post).
Kudos to organizations like the editors of the Canadian Essentials of Pediatric Nursing and recently, the College of Registered Dental Hygienists of Alberta – for proudly showing diverse images of the real patients and families they serve.