Garret Banner works as a general pediatrics nurse in Long Beach, providing hands-on care and education to patients on their health.
By John Grossi
What sort of purpose do you feel in your job and/or why do you believe your line of work is important and meaningful?
I am a general pediatrics nurse caring for patients from age newborn to the age of 21. Providing care for patients and their families is very rewarding for me. As a healthcare worker, not only do I get to provide hands on care, but I also provide education to the patients and their families for long-term care. I enjoy giving families the tools they need to stay healthy. For example, when I care for an asthmatic patient, not only do I provide bedside care, but I also provide education on home care and give the families community resources upon discharge to ensure a successful outcome for the patient long-term.
What is the most exciting part of your day-to-day work?
I have been in the medical field for more than twenty years, and have cared for adult patients, as well as the pediatric population. What I find rewarding is seeing the positive outcome of care we provide. I care for patients with both acute and long-term illnesses. I care for patients the same, whether they have a broken arm, stomach pain, or a brain injury. I know I have chosen the right field when I have a long-term patient return and visit the hospital to update us that they’re doing well.
What do you think the future of your industry looks like in 15 years?
Healthcare has changed a lot over the years, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made many aspects of the industry difficult. Nurses are working extra hard, and unfortunately, there is burnout. Physical and mental exhaustion is becoming a strain. The pediatric population has not been hit as hard as the adult population with COVID-19, and the pediatric nurses have not been hit as hard either, but at the end of the day, there is a trickle down effect. With nurses themselves getting sick with COVID-19 and being out from work, others have to fill in where needed. Nursing was mainly focused on patient care 15 years ago, but now, we counsel, provide support, educate, advocate and are involved in discharge planning. The industry 15 years from now will probably still see a high demand for nurses, and more men will likely enter the field. Nurses will need to pursue additional education as hospitals work to become Magnet hospitals, and we could see more “specialization” of nurses across care types like nurse education, infection control, quality, etc.
When did you decide you wanted to enter this field? What steps did you take to make that decision a reality?
At the age of 16, I decided that the medical field was for me. My mom was sick a lot and the healthcare in Belize, where I grew up, was not helping her. I promised myself that I would become a doctor and help her. Though I did not become a doctor, I still entered the medical field, and it’s been so fulfilling and gratifying. I worked as a nursing aid in the convalescent homes for about two years, then I went on to become a certified medical assistant. After working at the same office for about 15 years, the doctors I worked for encouraged me to become a registered nurse. They both thought, along with my husband, that I had the potential and that I would love it. After receiving my license, I started working for MemorialCare and have been here for 15 years.
What makes Long Beach a great place to live and work as it relates to your industry?
I have lived in Long Beach for more than 30 years and the diversity is what makes the community great. Providing care to a diverse community with a wide variety of health issues makes it a great place to work.