BY CAROLINE TIMM, Public Relations Specialist, Texas Children’s Hospital
Upon entering the workforce eight years ago with a freshly earned accounting degree from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Brandon Waterhouse quickly realized he was unfulfilled in his career. Knowing that he wanted to make a positive impact on people, Waterhouse left his accounting job in Corpus Christi and moved back to his hometown of San Antonio to spend time figuring out exactly what he wanted to do. After several months of searching, Waterhouse decided that nursing was his true calling. He had been a volunteer counselor at Camp Discovery since 2005, which is where he was first introduced to the pediatric cancer population.
“Nursing was never a career I had considered for myself, but I had always admired the special bond that exists between nurses and campers,” said Waterhouse. “The nurses, while still protective over their patients, had a rare chance to see them outside of the hospital setting and enjoying life as a normal kid. To the campers, nurses were the ones they trusted the most, the ones who have been by their side during some of their worst days.”
It was after camp in the summer of 2010 that Waterhouse realized he wanted to be there for these kids not just on their good days but the bad days as well.
After receiving his nursing degree from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, Waterhouse began his newfound career at the inpatient adult hematology and oncology unit at University Hospital in the summer of 2013. A year later, University Hospital opened a pediatric hematology and oncology unit, and Waterhouse immediately knew he wanted to make the switch.
Already aware of how much he enjoyed working with children from his time at Camp Discovery, pediatrics was ultimately where he always wanted to be. In June 2014, Waterhouse made the transition as part of the first group of nurses hired for the new unit. He spent the next 14 months on the unit before making the decision to leave University Hospital in search of a better learning opportunity.
“One of my goals had been to work in a top-ranked, stand-alone children’s hospital, and I couldn’t be happier that I ended up at Texas Children’s.” Waterhouse transferred to Texas Children’s Hospital in September 2015 where he now works as an RN on the inpatient cancer floor.
For these patients on the ninth floor of Texas Children’s, the days and weeks can be long. Rooms are filled with toys and reminders of home to make their stay feel as normal as possible. Waterhouse and the entire team on this floor go above and beyond to provide the best experience they can.
“When you find yourself surrounded by so many dedicated and talented nurses and staff, you strive to be the best you can be,” says Waterhouse.
While over-the-top care is very common for all Texas Children’s staff, a sweet late night serenade by Waterhouse to a five-year-old patient who could not sleep turned into a viral phenomenon. As she did most nights when she could not sleep, the young patient and her father strolled the halls listening to her favorite tunes on her iPad and enjoying time with the night-shift nursing staff. Waterhouse’s vibrant rendition of “A Whole New World” that particular night was viewed by millions all across the globe, but most importantly, it made the evening special for his patient.
“Brandon is truly an asset to our team,” says Tamara DuBose, MSN, RN, CPHON, Assistant Clinical Director of Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers. “He is selfless in his commitment to every patient he cares for and positively impacts the lives of all that he encounters. Brandon consistently demonstrates teamwork and is always looking for opportunities to put a smile on the faces of his patients and peers. He portrays the heart of nursing!”
Since his time here at Texas Children’s, Waterhouse has gone above and beyond for all of his patients and their families. He is one example of the thousands of incredible individuals who work here at Texas Children’s, and who make it their goal every day to provide their patients with the highest-quality care.
While the clinical care they provide is extremely important to the treatment of their patients, it is the personal connections that make the lasting impression. The selfless act of a nurse changed his patient’s night and will be something she will always remember.
Waterhouse still volunteers each year at Camp Discovery and continues to be a part of the planning committee that plans the entire week of camp beginning each year in January. For the past five years, he has organized the volunteer orientation weekend and currently serves on the board of directors for VisionWorks, Inc., which supports Camp Discovery.
“All I wanted was to make a young patient’s hospital stay a little brighter,” said Waterhouse. “I never imagined our small moment would turn into such a big story. This memorable moment with my patient reaffirms that I am exactly where I need to be.”