Hey Loves! If you’ve been following my IG (@simply_shon), you know I’ve been celebrating Nurses’ Week. This is a week dedicated to all the brave & selfless individuals that have or currently take of patients in any capacity. This year Nurses’ Week hits a little different. There are thousands of nurses that are currently battling COVID-19 in hospitals with increasing anxiety, stress, and uncertainty as cities open up nationwide. Let’s not forget the nurses that have died on the frontlines as well. Thank a nurse today!
Now on to me! I currently work at a Level 1 Trauma & Magnet hospital as a Medical-Surgical Oncology nurse. My unit specializes in care for ENT (Ear/Nose/Throat) and Gynecological cancer patients. On any given day we can also have general medicine patients, such as, traumas, drug overdoses, falls, hyperglycemia, etc.
I’m approaching my 2nd year as a nurse and I feel like I’ve seen and experienced sooooo much! It blows my mind how much I’ve grown as a nurse. When applying for units after nursing school, I had no idea where I wanted to be. However, I was very keen on asking my interviewers questions and observing vibes/energies . I did 4 interviews and whewww chileeeee some of the unprofessional behavior I experienced was mind-blowing! My current home unit offered me a position within 30 minutes post interview! I was soooo freaakin’ hyped!
I had no idea what I was getting into the first day I stepped foot on my floor. My preceptors, Bev & Michelle, were such a high-speed nurses. I learned so much from the both of them. They always made me feel comfortable and I appreciate them for that! Everyone on my floor made me feel so welcomed and I’m grateful to have had this type of experience because not all of my nursing friends have.
My first year as a new nurse, I struggled with:
- setting boundaries with patients/family members
- asking for help
To all my new nurses…these come with time! Find a mentor on your unit and be a sponge! Since then I have become certified nationally to administer chemotherapy and even taken some preceptees under my wing. *dusts shoulders* I’m so ready to expand more!
Day To Day
Being an oncology nurse is something that is difficult for me to describe. Right now I’ll use the words stressful and rewarding. You get attached to your routine cancer patients. Those patients that are confined to the hospital for weeks on end. Those patients that fighting for hope, treatment after treatment. Those patients you see at the most vulnerable points of their life. Some treatments and operations lead to success. While others just grant a little more time here with us. I wasn’t prepared to see death as often as it occurs on my floor. I’m not sure how I could have been prepared anyways. There’s something life-changing about seeing a person you’ve spent weeks-months caring for take their last breaths. Not only are we dealing with critically ill patients but their families as well. Some families that have accepted the outcome and just want the patient to be comfortable. Then you have others that want to keep fighting and won’t take “no” as an answer. Being an empath, these situations can be extremely emotional for me. I remember praying with one of my patients as he was fighting so hard for his life. He always wrote “god bless” on his whiteboard (tracheostomy patient) when I worked with him and it was all I could do at the moment as he struggled. It’s moments like these that remind of why I do what I do. Sending love to anyone dealing with cancer or sickness in any capacity.
Some things I learned working with cancer patients:
- be extremely patient with patient & family members
- respect patients’ decisions no matter what I feel is personally best
- explain all options so patients can make educated decisions
- DO NOT get involved in family drama
- support patient and family in whatever capacity I can
- advocate to doctoral team for patients’ wishes
- take time to breathe alone on emotional shifts
- be alert of any subtle & major changes in patient’s status
- death can be beautiful and peaceful experience
I cannot imagine myself in any other profession. I gain a sense of empowerment from helping others in any way I can. Especially during this season of COVID-19. These patients have been without family due to visitor restrictions and we have been their families plus more.
Currently, I do not have any special tips or tricks on how I decompress besides telling my friends about my nights. Blogging has been very therapeutic for me, but I need something new. Something fresh! Send suggestions plz!
Talk to me! Hit me with your day to day vibes at work! What stressors do you experience? What fulfillment do you get from your profession? How do you decompress? Have any questions about nursing? Holla atcha girl! Below is a Youtube video on my first year of nursing & some flicks of me and my cool ass coworkers!