"You can always advance”: Support for nursing staff sets Roswell Park apart

Malik Nagi, RN

Malik Nagi wanted to be a geologist.

He was just a few credits shy of graduating with an environmental sciences degree when he realized he wasn’t as excited about pursuing that career as expected. Instead, he thought about changing careers entirely and getting into nursing.

It didn’t take long for him – now Malik Nagi, BSN, RN – to know he made the right choice. “I transferred to D’Youville College, took a couple classes and loved it,” he says.  “At the same time, I was working as a home care aid, but I finished classes and now here I am.”

Nagi completed a medical-surgical rotation as part of his nursing school training at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, in addition to rotations at other hospitals across Western New York. But it was his time at Roswell Park that solidified not only his passion for nursing but where he wanted to work.  “Roswell Park was different. It was the only clinic where I’d have to wake up at 5 a.m. and I was excited about it,” he remembers. “At the end of that rotation, I wanted to get a job here. I loved it so much. This was where I wanted to be.”

His first job at Roswell Park was as an aid, followed by a summer internship in 2021 and a permanent job thereafter. He’s now 18 months into his career as a registered nurse, serving on 8 West, the intermediate care unit.  It’s a great way to learn how to interact with patients, build relationships with people, an aspect of nursing Nagi really enjoys.

“If I want to learn, especially as a new grad, this is a great place to be,” he says. “I did a month during my internship on 7 West, in the GI unit, and a month in 8 West. I felt like I learned so much when I was there.”

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But he’s also not limiting himself to this position and hopes to continue to learn and grow, both as a nurse and as a team member. “You can always go and do something else. I’d like to go back to school and find an extra specialty to what I’m doing now. My supervisors know this and they’re all really supportive,”’ he says.

“There are no limits to the career opportunities here. Someone can start as an aid, wherever they want to start, and go anywhere. You can always advance. There’s always another step ahead of you that you can reach for if you want. People will support you.”

Having spent a little time in other hospitals, Nagi enjoys the time he has with his Roswell Park patients. “I have never seen patients like these anywhere else. You can’t believe what they’re going through and they tough it out, partly because they need to. We do everything we can for them. It’s a level of care they’ll only get at Roswell Park.”

Another thing that sets Roswell Park apart from other facilities is the nursing team’s commitment to not just their patients but each other.

“At other facilities, at the end of the shift, people just went home. They do their job and go home. Here, at Roswell Park, when (the end of the day) comes around, we all ask what we can do. I didn’t see that in other places. That’s one of the things that drew me in. The nurses here all knew each other and worked so well together.”