We are proud to say that the Pediatric Oncology Nurses/Nurse Practitioners implemented the Beads of Courage Program at Mayo Clinic using money received from the Kids Cup in 2008. The program is a resilience-based intervention designed to support and strengthen children and families dealing with a serious illness. The children tell their story of treatment using colorful beads as meaningful symbols of their accomplishments and experience along their treatment journey. The Beads of Courage journey begins with the child receiving a length of string and beads to spell out their first names. Additional beads are then added to represent different treatment milestones such as clinic visits, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, scans, emergency room visits, transfusion, and surgeries as just a few examples. The beads of the necklace tell the child’s personal story.
Patients are told to bring their necklaces to the clinic at each visit to have more beads added to symbolize their journey. The children are always eager to share their experiences and keep a journal to keep track of any interval milestones. The beads may be given out by the clinical assistants, nurses, nurse practitioners or physicians, and it is obvious to all that the meaning behind the necklace is priceless, not merely beads strung on a string, but a symbol of strength and pride.
We are very proud to have this program in the Division of Pediatric Oncology. It is wonderful to see the smiles it brings to the children and we must say the staff enjoys being able to share this experience with the children.
Watch the below video to hear what these two children have to say about taking part in the Beads of Courage Program here at Mayo Clinic.
-Donna L. Betcher, R.N., C.N.P. and Julia A. Gourde, R.N., C.N.P.