Ashlie began her career as a “grown up” nurse

But her mother, also a nurse at Connecticut Children’s, convinced her to bring her skills to pediatric nursing. Initially nervous about the transition, she now loves working with children and their families, and has advanced both her career and leadership responsibilities through Connecticut Children’s supportive culture and tuition reimbursement program.

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Name: Ashlie Morris-Avery, BSN, RN   
Role: Registered Nurse, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)   
Time at Connecticut Children’s: 5 years   
Nursing Experience: 7 years

Connecticut Children’s Unique Advantages

What drew you to Connecticut Children’s?

My mom actually brought me to Connecticut Children’s. She’s a nurse here and loves it, and that’s how I ended up here. We have a lot of parents and siblings and families throughout the entire institution.

What are the advantages of working at a hospital 100% dedicated to children?

The atmosphere is completely different here. It’s a lot more light. We do things geared towards kids. We get to have fun with our jobs and I think that’s super important, because we do hard things here and we do see a lot of sad things, but we get to bring joy to these children and these families, which is why we do what we do.   

A Rewarding Career

What do you like most about working at Connecticut Children’s?

I love being a nurse. When I first stepped into Connecticut Children’s, I felt like I was at home, which was just a great feeling when I walked in. And we have a great team here and I look forward to building that team.

What’s one of the most rewarding parts of your job?

Seeing my patients get better is great. It’s nice walking into this building and seeing my patients’ pictures up on the wall after they’ve been through so much. Some of our patients are with us for years, months, weeks, and some with us only for a short period of time, but being able to see them get out of the ICU is awesome. It’s amazing.

Seeing kids get better is the reason we do what we do. We want to make sure that we get kids better and get them home. And every time we do that, it’s great.

Working With Kids 

What’s it like working in a pediatric ICU, and taking care of children?

Kids’ resilience…they are unbelievable. They’re amazing. They bounce back. Adults have open heart surgery, they’re laid up in bed for a week. A kid has open heart surgery, the next day they’re out of bed, walking the unit smiling and waving at people. Their resilience, their attitudes, their strength is unbelievable. And we actually have a lot to learn from kids.

How did you move from adult nursing to pediatric? What was that like?

Coming from the adult side to the pediatric side of nursing was nerve-wracking, but also very exciting and very rewarding. It was definitely different. I felt like a new grad, even though I had three years of nursing experience coming into this. But don’t be afraid. You’re still a nurse, you still know your skills, you know what you’re doing. If you want to be a pediatric nurse, just do it. Don’t be afraid, jump right into it. Get a shadow opportunity. See what it’s all about. It’s so rewarding. If it’s what you want do, you should just jump right into it.

What’s it like working with the families of your patients?

We build very good relationships with our families. You’re meeting these people at a very, very difficult time in their life. But you just have to do the best that you can to be understanding of that. And usually they come around and we become friends.

Connecticut Children’s Culture

What’s the leadership and culture like here?

The management team on our unit, specifically in the PICU, is wonderful. They are constantly on the unit helping out. You’ll very rarely see them in dress clothes. They’re always in scrubs, so they can jump right in. And even when they’re in dress clothes, they still jump right in, which is great. We have a really good team.

What’s Connecticut Children’s “culture of kindness?”

A culture of kindness to me is just that — being kind. You don’t have to always like everybody, but just being nice and putting a smile on your face, it really kind of changes everyone’s day. And I think we do a pretty good job here at doing that.