"It just feels like home": Why one nurse returned to Roswell Park

Lateya Jackson, BSN, RN

Lateya Jackson, BSN, RN, always knew she wanted to be a nurse. “My mom was a nurse, so I watched her. Also, I always wanted to take care of people. At first, I thought I wanted to be a doctor, but doctors don’t have the patient contact like nurses do.”

Initially, she worked on 6 West at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center as part of a close-knit environment with her team. But after two years, Lateya felt like it was time for a change. She left Roswell Park to take a job at another facility, one where she’d always dreamed of working.

However, a few months later, Lateya realized she wasn’t as happy as she’d been at Roswell Park.

“The overall experience wasn’t what I thought it would be,” she says. Thanks to a good relationship with her previous manager, she was able to return to Roswell Park, now training to be a nurse in the float pool, helping to fill in throughout the hospital where needed.

“I felt way more comfortable here. It just feels like home,” she says. “Even going from floor to floor, everyone is super helpful, trying to figure out what you need to get done. It’s nice. Everyone’s willing to jump in and help.”

The short trip away from Roswell Park reminded Lateya why she liked working here in the first place.

“The patients are here so much longer, or they come in so often, that we get to know them. Just like how the nurses are treated by the hospital, it’s more like a close-knit family than just an organization.”

Support from educators and patients alike

Even as a brand-new nurse, the management and staff at Roswell Park offers additional support and training to help ensure the success of the nursing team, she says.

“Nursing school doesn’t really teach you how to be a nurse, it teaches you the basics,” Lateya says. “When you get on the job, that’s when you really learn. I had amazing preceptors here who took the time to teach me how to do things and why. Even after my first orientation, I was able to go to my preceptor and ask her a lot of questions. She took the time to explain things. It’s the same with the educators – they have a nurse residency program which is a year-long for newer nurses. That helps to make you feel a lot more prepared on the job.”

Nursing careers at Roswell Park

Whether you are just getting started on a nursing career or are looking to your next chapter, Roswell Park can help you achieve your personal and professional goals. Find out more about becoming a nurse at Roswell Park.

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For new, or seasoned, nurses considering joining the team at Roswell Park, Lateya wants them to know their misconceptions about working in a cancer hospital will be corrected right away.

“It’s not a dark and dreary place at all. There’s a lot of hopeful feelings here, a lot of resiliency. Even the patients are encouraging you,” she says. “Being a nurse is such a rewarding feeling. It’s rewarding when you see a patient and they say, ‘I had a terrible night but you made a difference,’ even if I felt like nothing went right. It’s the very little things we sometimes don’t think about that make a big difference for our patients. That’s what makes the job, even when it’s so hard, very rewarding.”