Getting Social: Fellow Oncology Nurses Share Their Experiences

Each Friday, Oncology Nursing News posts a question asking our audience to share their experiences and opinions about a range of topics in the world of cancer. Here are some of their answers.

Each Friday, Oncology Nursing News® posts a question to social media asking our audience to share their experiences and opinions about a range of topics in the world of cancer.

Here are some of the top responses from our discussions, but the conversation does not need to stop there — we’d love to hear from you! Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for the latest updates and for weekly conversations with your peers.

Oncology Nursing News®: What was the nicest thing a patient has ever done for you, or the most rewarding moment of your nursing career?

Elise: Gave me a book, and an essay was in it [that gave me] advice and encouragement.

Miriah: My name comes from a song called, “They Called the Wind Maria” (pronounced Mariah). A patient found the sheet music and serenaded me, singing and playing the guitar.

Jenna Lee: I had to call a rapid (response) on (a patient) once, and a year later when he was readmitted, he remembered me and told me that I saved his life. From then on out he called me his favorite nurse and always requested me when he was at the hospital. He ended up going to hospice and we kept in touch. He would call me each week and I went to visit him and his wife and brought them flowers and cookies. I still have some voicemails from him. When he passed, I went to his funeral and multiple family members came up to me and said, “You must be Jenna Lee.” His wife put a picture of us in his casket. His grandson and I went out for drinks in his honor and we still keep in touch. He was my 91-year-old best friend. His family also called me about an hour before he passed. He put me on the list of the people he wanted called to pray for him as he passed over. He had prostate cancer with bone (metastases), but never complained about anything. I’ll carry his life stories with me forever.

Maggie: The most rewarding moment in my career is the moment my son and husband were able to see me presenting to a group of my peers to encourage them to continue to make a difference by advancing our profession and mentor others!

What was your first day (or month or year) of nursing like? What sticks out in your mind as most memorable from your first steps into the nursing world?

Donna: In 1987, as a new nightshift 22-year-old med-surg(ical) hospital nurse, I cared for and became close to a patient dying of AIDS who had scant outside support. I stayed way past my shift to support and comfort him while he died alone on our ward. [It was] life altering!

Loretta: I recently started working as an infusion RN in oncology. I’m fresh out of school. I am more than touched by a patient we treat who has ALS. He and his wife are the kindest people. I think about him often when he’s not at the clinic. Every time he comes in, which is daily, I see a very small decline in his movements. One evening I had to leave the floor because it brought tears to my eyes, seeing his wife literally take his hand and gently push it down to his walker and force his hand to grip the handle. I’ve only been working in oncology for 3 weeks now, and I know, hands down, it’s exactly where I belong.

Maggie: I remember being terrified and wondering if this was real or not! I was soon broken in by my preceptor and my first patient who was also an RN undergoing (a bone marrow transplant)! Hooked ever since!

What made you become an oncology nurse?

Ashley: I’m a nursing student, but I just did a rotation on a pediatric oncology unit the other day and felt hit with the feeling that this is what I want to do! I think it may be the perfect blend of the art and science of nursing. I graduate in May, so we’ll see where I end up, but I’m hoping for oncology!

Donna: God deep-rooted oncology nursing to choose me through my desire to help others; my grandmother nurse, Evelyn; my mom and dad dying of cancer; and my current dual citizenship role as an oncology nurse and recurrent endometrial cancer survivor. Proud member of the Oncology Nursing Society.

What part of your job would non-nurses be surprised about?

Heidi: All those [things] you see doctors doing on doctor shows… yeah … nurses do that stuff.

Caroline: There’s so much they don’t teach you in nursing school. Only experience can truly teach you all the many hats that a nurse wears. Whoever says, “just a nurse,” buddy, they’re wrong!