Photo by Becca Sabot
Staff Nurse, Emergency
Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
“It wasn’t a job when we started. It was a profession,” says Koldborg of nurses her age. “I was taught by nuns. They said, ‘You’re never going to get anywhere if you sit back and wait for someone to do it for you.’”
So she didn’t. And that’s added up to 48 years nursing, 24 years in pediatric emergency, and 15 years as an instructor herself, teaching courses on pediatric emergency nursing to more than 4,000 students—not counting the new nurses she’s mentored.
It’s not easy to teach emergency room procedure, where much of the decision-making is often on the run and charged with emotion. “My day-to-day job can be described in minute-to-minute increments,” she says. But frequent simulations with high-tech mannequins really help, especially when it comes to the resuscitation room. “We don’t do resuscitations every day, so the more nurses do the drills, the more comfortable nurses become.”
She also models positivity. “I know that any negativity I project can be infectious, so I try to minimize that.” When you work with kids who are hurting, Koldborg points out, any celebration of success is worth laughs and love. “We might throw a birthday party for a child with cancer. A new nurse might say, ‘You are really doing that?’ Yeah. We are. Life goes on.”
Says Koldborg, “My emotional center hasn’t changed much over the years. I love children and caring for sick children.” It may be stressful, but unlike adults, children can be diverted with playfulness.
Like the 3-year-old fracture patient whose daddy made her giggle. “A student nurse came to administer morphine. I said, ‘Do you really think she needs morphine right now? I mean, look at her!’”