Nurses across the country help improve the lives of their patients every day through their care and acts of kindness and compassion. A Baylor Nurse, Deb Smith, who graduated from the Louise Herrington School of Nursing in 2017, used her creative skills to help reach a younger population – children born with hypospadias, a birth defect. It’s a difficult condition for children to understand, and those born with the condition typically face surgical correction, a daunting prospect for both the parents and patient.
Smith wrote her book, How Down There Bear Got Repaired, after struggling to find a way to answer her son Maddox’s questions. Maddox was born with hypospadias, and was facing surgery, possibly multiple surgeries, to correct his condition. Smith said that whenever she has trouble explaining something to her son, she tries to find a children’s book on Amazon. While trying to find a book to help explain hypospadias to Maddox, she found books about tonsillectomies, broken bones, and Curious George’s trip to the hospital to retrieve a puzzle piece he had swallowed. She found no books to help her explain hypospadias to her son. How Down There Bear Got Repaired discusses Down There Bear’s hypospadias and surgery, and helps give boys undergoing the same procedure an idea of what to expect.
About 5 out of every 1,000 boys born in the United States are born with hypospadias, making it a common birth defect. Children affected by hypospadias face surgery, and having a urinary catheter afterward, something that can be difficult for parents to explain to their children without the help of a book. Smith, a first-time author, found support for publishing her first book from Operation Happenis, which was established at PARC Urology, a Frisco, Texas clinic. Patients and families from countries around the world come to PARC Urology for hypospadias repair. Operation Happenis is a charity that was created to promote hypospadias awareness, improve care, advance research efforts, and help provide support to patients and families affected by penile defects, including hypospadias.
Smith’s hope is that How Down There Bear Got Repaired helps parents explain hypospadias to their child, and help them know what to expect. She also hopes that it will help them feel less alone while going through the process, because many children will require multiple surgeries over several years to move the urethra to the correct position. Repair is usually initiated at a young age and can be difficult for young patients to comprehend.
Smith took her creative ingenuity and compassion to a new level with her brave endeavor, helping many children and families who are affected by a common condition. The Louise Herrington School of Nursing inspires nursing students to become Baylor Nurses – nurses who learn, lead, and serve through the synergy of spirituality, compassion, and academic excellence, and Deb Smith is an exemplar. ‘Down There Bear’ will help many young patients and their families for years to come, thanks to the compassion and excellence of this Baylor Nurse.