Carousel Pediatric Care Helps Families Embrace Life

By Megan Hammond, KCH RN Case Manager
Published:  Feb 9, 2022

When asked to write about our Carousel Pediatric Care Program, I thought to myself, how on earth can I consolidate some of the most inspiring and meaningful work I’ve ever had the privilege of doing in just a short summary? How can I describe what Carousel is, what it means to our families, and the significant impact it has for me as a nurse? How do I describe what is the most impressive team of colleagues, who put their hearts, minds and steadfast commitment to our families every single day? And most importantly, how do I even begin to describe the incredibly strong, dedicated and passionate patients and families we care for in a way that is enough? There aren’t enough words to describe the relentless spirit of our families, nor are there enough paragraphs to adequately describe our program and what it means to us, our patients and our community.  Thank you for taking a moment to walk with me as I describe life as a Carousel nurse.

Megan Hammond, KCH RN Case Manager

Multifaceted care for the entire family

Receiving the news that your child is dying is one of the hardest, most unimaginable experiences a family can endure. It is something we all hope to never face. But when presented with the absolute worst of circumstances, I’m so thankful that we have Carousel. Our program offers families a strong team of nurses, social workers, chaplains, home health aides, physicians, therapists and more who are actively involved every step of the way in providing love and support in each individual circumstance, and in being a source of steadiness and care. No matter what a patient’s story is, our goal remains the same: to provide the best and most robust care, comfort and support to these patients and their loved ones that we can as a team dedicated to meeting their needs. 

Lessons learned from my patients

I can think of countless stories from my time in Carousel. When reflecting on each of these unique experiences, there is one common thread that binds them together – the intense love and devotion I see every day for these precious children. I think of a mom who has stayed home with her bedridden child for years, dedicating every day and night to the intricate care involved in meeting her daughter’s needs. She exuded passion, commitment and deep devotion in making sure her daughter received the very best care in every circumstance. She taught me to expect and commit to excellence. I remember times sitting outside with the parents of a child on hospice, as they discussed what was important to them and their 10-year-old son and made plans and committed to goals to embrace his life to the fullest. They taught me to never shy away from putting dreams into action. I think of the “courage beads” one of my Carousel children had on their living room mantle – one bead for each new procedure, hospital stay, and more. The bead jar was filled to the top, highlighting his courage through his journey. What a testament of strength!  I think of the young man coming home from college with the most incredible intellect. I remember the last day I saw him; even in that state, he wanted to take time to directly thank me for being his nurse. He taught the art of gratitude and love of community, even in the very worst of circumstances. I think of making footprint art with our social worker for the sweetest 3-pound baby who was only expected to live a day, but who proved us all wrong by living a full month – a month of love in the arms of her mother and family. She taught me to expect the unexpected.

I think of the young children in Carousel, active and playful, the ones who play doctor with our stethoscopes and sing us their favorite songs. I think of their parents and caregivers: these fiercely dedicated, passionate and loving individuals who pull strength and light from deep within during the darkest times. Our patients and families teach me more and more every day. They inspire me to be a better human and to seize each day for what it is, a true gift! I am so thankful to be a part of this journey with our patients, families and incredible team. 


  1. Duchess on February 9, 2022 at 6:36 pm

    Beautiful writing about your work, your patients, and their families. Thanks.

  2. Lou Sears on February 10, 2022 at 12:20 am

    I have known Megan Hammond for a few years now. She was one of the oncology nurses for my Multiple Myeloma doctor at KU. She was always kind and caring. She went beyond what one would expect of their health care professional. I was sad when she left my doctor’s office because I would not only miss an excellent nurse, but also a friend. I did not need her as much as these precious little ones in the hospice program for whom she is currently working. What a blessing she is for these families and babies.
    May God Bless You, Megan!

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