A child anxiously awaits brain surgery. Fortunately, Kyle Wisor is their nurse. “I’ll get down on the patient’s level and ask, ‘Hey, do you want to see my scar from when I was a kid here?’” Kyle says. “It helps them know they’re not alone and feel a sense of relief that I was a patient at Children’s National, too. I see a light come on that someone understands them.”

As a toddler, Kyle had trouble hearing. “My mom would talk to me in the car, but I wouldn’t respond from the back seat. She didn’t know why.

But when she turned around, I’d respond because I was reading her lips.”

A specialist diagnosed Kyle with cholesteatoma, a cyst inside the ear that can lead to serious complications, including hearing loss and facial paralysis. He had three surgeries to save his facial nerve starting at age 3. He still had hearing loss but was safe from facial paralysis.

“Without Children’s National, I wouldn’t have the life I’ve been so lucky to have,” Kyle says. Nearly two decades of compassionate care at the hospital inspired him to become a pediatric nurse with empathy for children who fear the unknown.

After a clinical rotation in our Center for Neuroscience and Behavioral Medicine, Kyle knew it’s where he wanted to be. Still, his start was intimidating. “Having the insider view of a former patient, I put a lot of pressure on myself to be a superstar nurse,” he says. “But I’ve realized everyone is learning.”

Kyle finds new and creative ways to comfort patients who often navigate sensory challenges or developmental delays. “You have to be willing to sit with kids for an extra minute and earn their trust.”

Kyle no longer chases superstar status. Instead, he makes them feel like the stars. “When you show families you care about them, they return that to us.” Those moments, he says, inspire him to help the next patient feel like their hospital experience will be ok, just like it was for him.
A young patient at Children's National Hospital.

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A young patient at Children's National Hospital.