December 9, 2013
I had an opportunity to write a post about nursing – which, if you don’t know, is what I do for a day job – and although at first I wasn’t sure because I don’t tend to write much about work in this space, the more I thought about it the more I wanted to say something about how special it is to me. Because even though lately we are all holiday-focused and I’m naturally also very family-and-pregnancy-focused, the reality is that work takes up the biggest part of my life, and I’m very blessed and grateful to be doing something I love and feel is a calling and a ministry.
In church recently our pastor challenged us to figure out who our hearts break for, and to do something about it; to come alongside them and share their burdens. Well, my heart breaks for a lot of people, but especially those I see every day: men, women, and families struggling with cancer. I became a nurse in the first place because I was working at a cancer clinic and it looked challenging and satisfying. I thought I would enjoy it and be good at it. I continued in the field of oncology kind of by accident, because it was the first job offered to me at a great hospital and I couldn’t say no, but I immediately fell in love with the patients and haven’t looked back.
When you work in this area you really get to know well the people you care for, because it’s a long haul deal. It didn’t take long before I knew I wanted to keep doing it, and so I got certified and transferred to the outpatient center where we give chemo all day every day and work closely with the doctors’ offices to coordinate care. That also means that now I get to be with patients from the very beginning of their journey, and I get a lot more follow-up with them too. Even for patients who are doing well, the experience of being diagnosed with and treated for cancer is scary and can be difficult to get through. I think pretty much everyone has been touched by cancer in some way and I feel happy to be helping even a little bit. I consider my job a ministry because it is when people are broken and vulnerable that they need the most help. I want to be someone who comes alongside them and shares that burden.
In our clinic we have a bell-ringing ceremony for anyone completing their course of chemo. We nurses live for those celebrations, but we are also not afraid to cry with someone. I’m proud to do what I do, but I also feel so blessed to be able to do it. I think my patients have done so much more for me to make me a better person than what I’ve done for them. If you or anyone you know is interested in nursing, this specific area of nursing, or advancing your nursing degree, let me know! We need more of us out there, and there are lots of great online resources and opportunities to check out. I would love to help you. And for everyone else, I hope you have found something you love to do just as much!
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