Background: I have completed 10 week rotations through clinical sites such as Adult Medical/Surgical, Maternity (Labor and Delivery, Post-Partum), Intensive Care Units (Trauma/Burn/Pediatric/Neonatal), and Pediatric Hematology/Oncology. As a Citizens of the World Scholar, I traveled overseas to complete a 3 month rotation focusing on community health and mental health nursing in Thailand.
Pediatric hematology/oncology focuses on blood disorders and childhood cancers. Providing long term care to patients and their families through a chronic illness has been both inspiring and rewarding. My experiences through pediatric hematology/oncology truly define holistic healthcare and encompass the meaning of nursing. I have developed a deeper appreciation for life through my experiences as a nurse in this specialty.
“Working with kids is amazing!” I am completely amazed at how a person at such a young age can overcome such overwhelming odds and continue to be so strong and resilient. As a pediatric nurse I have the advantage of working with a diverse patient population. From infants and adolescents I am still amazed by each person’s strength to pull through such aggressive treatments.
“Inspiration.” I am inspired not only by the young people I meet everyday, but also by the people that I am surrounded by everyday. The multidisciplinary team comprised of nurses, doctors, ChildLife Specialists, social workers, parents, (just to name a few) dedicated to making a difference brings greater meaning to my job.
“Great hours!” Although I work the standard 7am-7pm twelve hour shifts, I work 3 days a week and have 4 days off! (Yes, I am working full time) By the third day of work, it gets to be quite exhausting, but there’s nothing like looking forward to the next 4 days off of work. This also provides flexibility to my schedule if I wanted to pursue other things. Ex: pick up a part-time job of choice or pursue a Masters degree in Nursing (one of my long-term goals)
“Physically, mentally, emotionally draining…” Nursing is a very physical occupation. There is a lot of running around and literally juggling patient priorities in your mind and physically trying to make sure each patient’s needs are met.
It can be mentally tiring to carry such a deep sense of responsibility I have as a nurse. Working so closely with patients and their families can be both rewarding and challenging at the same time. I feel completely blessed to have the opportunity to be a part of their lives in such a difficult time, but it is also a challenge to not become so attached to the situation.
Challenges: “Patience….patience…..patience…” Ensuring that questions are answered and individual needs are met takes quite a bit of patience. Interacting with a huge range of developmental stages of each individual requires a lot of patience and creativity.
“Trust and Respect” Trust is essential when I am accountable for the life of another person. With shows like ER, SCRUBS, and Grey’s Anatomy, the public image of a “nurse” can be skewed. There is the image of the nurse in the white hat, skirt, and stockings running around, blindly taking doctor’s orders. In the real world, this is hardly the case. The nurse becomes the patient’s advocate. The patient’s needs come first and they can not be met without a true team effort and common sense of respect. It can be a challenge to gain the respect and trust of others within a 12-hour period.
“Communication is the key.” Communicating effectively is necessary to ensure individual needs are met. It becomes challenging when language or cultural barriers come into effect. Nurses need to be resourceful, patient, and respectful of all differences when working with such a diverse patient population.