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(1/4) My first undergrad degree was in psychology. I worked for a couple of years as the manager of a barbecue restaurant, then for an aquatics company, and I finally realized that I wasn’t doing what God had created me to do.  It just wasn’t fulfilling for me. So I thought back to the last time when I felt like I was really living into that, and it was during my senior year of college when I volunteered with the American Cancer Society.  Oncology has always been a passion of mine, but I never, ever, ever thought I wanted to do anything in the medical field. I actually have a bit of a queasy stomach.  Seriously. When I told my mom that I wanted to go to nursing school,she actually laughed.  She said, “you still freak out when you get shots."

(2/4) We’re pretty protective of our kids here in the clinic; it’s definitely a motherly kind of love.  I don’t have children of my own yet, but I can tell you that I love these kids like they’re mine.  I usually work with the same kids throughout their treatment because the consistency helps to ease some of their anxiety.  You start to learn all of the little things about them- who prefers which type of dressing, or that this patient can’t tolerate certain smells. It’s such a precious thing to watch a nurse with her primary patient- the connection that they have, the inside jokes that they share.  It’s truly a unique and special bond.

(3/4) I have cried many times in a patient’s room when they’ve gotten upsetting news.  Or even when they’ve gotten good news. I always have to temper it with whether or not it would be therapeutic for them to see me show that kind of emotion, because every family is different.  But if I’ve connected with them on that kind of level, to me, it’s another way I can show them, “I love you and I love your child and I’m rejoicing in that wonderful news you just received.”  Sometimes, too many times, it’s, “I’m broken with you.”  As nurses, I don’t know that we can do what we do if we didn’t have those emotions.  It’s a tough balance- how much we let ourselves feel, and how much we distance ourselves.

(4/4) It comes in waves, and we feel every bit of it. We’ve experienced a tremendous amount of loss over the last few months. But we’ve gotten just as many new diagnoses since then, too. It seems like as soon as someone finishes treatment, a new family walks in. We’ll sometimes stop in the nurses’ station and look at each other and we’re all thinking, “Wow, we’ve got a lot of new kids.”  We have to let the weight of that sink in. 

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