In 1990, during my nursing clinical rotation here at Roswell Park, I declared, “This is it. This is where I want to work.” Nearly 28 years later, I am still here and still look forward to coming to work every day.
Our patients are what have kept me going and why I love what I do. You see what they go through every day – from chemo to scans to surgery to more chemo and more scans. It can be painful, anxiety-ridden and life-changing, and yet, so many of them rarely complain. There’s no one on earth quite like Roswell patients. They have shaped my outlook on life and have taught me so much. Don’t take life for granted. Live life to the fullest. Enjoy it. Spend time with family and friends. Celebrate all the little things. To go through life complaining and griping … it’s not worth it. You just never know. Tomorrow is not promised.
There are days that are really tough. Days when I see something a patient is going through and think, “It’s not fair.” But, I know they are in a place that can give them the best treatment and the best outcomes, and that I am here to help however I can. I try to be the comic relief for my patients. Whenever possible, I like to keep it light and jovial. As a nurse, you do your best to put yourself in the patient’s shoes and treat them how you would want yourself or your family to be treated.
Unfortunately, I was recently able to see cancer care from the other side when my mom was diagnosed with lung cancer. Decades ago, I first pursued nursing at the suggestion of my mother who saw my nurturing nature and thought it would be a good fit. It was definitely difficult to watch my mom go through treatment and deal with the side effects. For the first time, it was my mom, my family member, going through it. But we took it one day at a time and I was grateful that I work with so many kind people who I could reach out to for help.
Never miss another Cancer Talk blog!
Sign up to receive our monthly Cancer Talk e-newsletter.Sign up!
Nurses here at Roswell Park are truly special. It’s a group of individuals who are full of empathy, compassion and pride. We are proud to work at a place committed to excellence and to be there for our patients during one of the most difficult times in their lives. I love that we all spend time with our patients and get to know them. The connections are real and personal.
In addition to all the outstanding nurses here, we also have many Certified Nurses. Being a Certified Nurse gives me a sense of accomplishment because I worked hard for that certification. Certified Nurses represent a group of people who are committed to continuing their education, growing their profession and continuously seeking out new advances and innovations. And it’s all for our patients – we want to bring them the best possible care.
At the end of the day, I love my job and can’t imagine working anywhere else.