Pediatric Oncology Nurse……I like nursing!

I was given the task of deciding what to do with my future at 16…like you know then. I chose business, but i didn’t really have a passion for business, i wanted to be a nurse, I had secretly wanted to be a nurse for years, but truly felt i wouldn’t have the brains nor the stomach for the work. So off to uni i went to study business and i finish 20 grand poorer but i had a degree and while applying for jobs i realised i didn’t want to spend my life behind a desk pushing paper. You see between starting my business degree and finishing it i had a child, during that time i had a few admissions to hospital for minor complications and the care i received from my nurses and doctors reignited my passion, i wanted to give back what i had received and i felt i had it in me. So I enrolled in another uni degree in Nursing.

I enjoyed every minute of it, from theory to clinical, there where moments when i questioned the actions of “real nurses” but all in all my experience was positive. I graduated and i must say wearing my orange nursing stripe at graduation was far more satisfying than wearing the blue from my business degree. Granted i have been working only for a yr as an RN, but it has been stressful and sad, but it has also been so rewarding. I work with oncology patients, some days with lists so long i feel like i’ll never get through all my patients, but i do. I have had diarrhoea and gone weeks without sleeping from stress, but i push through it and it gets better, because i learn from it, i realise what is stressing me, i speak with my superiors and i work through it, I am very blessed to work in a unit that encourages newcomers, the support i have received has overwhelmed me. I didn’t expect it, i heard the horror stories and expected to be thrown in the deep end, but i was fortunate and still am, every day i learn new things and become more confident because i am supported.

I have lost patients, because there disease was incurable and that is incredibly sad, but i feel so honoured to have been apart of their life, i love to learn about people’s lives and to be apart of there journey, yes it is tragic to lose a patient, but all the patients i have lost this year i am greatful to have been apart of their journey because i have gained so much from them. We often feel over worked, over tired, over stressed and under resourced as nurses, But think about why you got into this job. I joined the profession because i wanted to help sick people, I wanted to see them get better, or at least make sure they passed with dignity and as peacefully as possible, so far that is my experience and i am greatful for it.

Yes doctors can get antsy at nurses, but i like to put myself in there position they are far out numbered, there are more nurses than doctors and we are always looking for them for orders and guidance, surely that could become overwhelming. I know i have waffled, but i just thought i would share another story, during my training i was placed in a kids ward, at the time i had a two year old son, i was doing evening shift and at 5pm we received a call from the ER to alert us to a possible abuse case that would be coming to us, the grandmother was looking after her 8 month old grandson and upon changing his nappy saw that every part that was covered by a nappy was red blistered and weeping, she took him to the GP thinking it was a bad case of nappy rash and the GP directed her to the ER. Upon arrival in the kids ward, we as students we invited in to see the head pediatric dr assess the child, in addition to the “nappy rash” the childs fontanelle was depressed and when we laid him on his back you could see the right side of his chest sat out further than the left, i could not handle that, i left the room, bawled my eyes out and the parents found out what the grandmother had done came to the hospital and demanded their child, promising to bring him back for a full assessment the next day…they never did.

That night shook me to the core, i went home and bawled my eyes out, i honestly don’t think i’ve ever cried so much, to me that was the worst i ever experienced, I praised the nurses who could work with children and see cases like that and actually turn up to work the next day, one night in a kids ward, told me i was not strong enough for that, but it wasn’t enough to stop me from my dream. That to me is the hardest nursing will ever get (I hope) everything else pails in comparison to seeing what that child had gone through.

To the nurses who are disgruntled with the profession, perhaps look to a different specialty or try a different hospital with different working conditions, but please do not give up on the profession, there are patients who need you, who need your knowledge and who want to see a smiling and encouraging face. And no i don’t think i have rose coloured glasses on, I do know nursing is difficult and it takes a lot out of you, but did you sign up thinking it was going to be a walk in the park? A facilitator during clinical placement once said to me, when you get to the ward and put your handbag in the locker, put your emotional baggage in there too, because you are dealing with sick people and they don’t need your attitude just cause you’ve had a shitty week, whatever is wrong with your life, pails in comparison to what they are going through.