Reflecting on the Above and Beyond
I've always hated the saying, "You never think it can happen to you." I guess I just think logically, if it can happen to someone else then obviously it can happen to me. I do have to admit that I never thought I'd be sitting in an oncology office with my Dad. I knew it could happen, no one is immune to cancer, but it just never crossed my mind that my family would be battling it. I've earned a great respect for those who work the field of oncology.
The very first time I ever stepped foot into an oncology office was the day my Dad was diagnosed with Stage IV Melanoma. The only thing I could think as I sat there was, "Why does anyone decide they want to become an oncologist or even work in a place like this?" These people have actually made the choice to work with one of the most dreaded diseases there is, every day. They have to tell people this disease is going to end their life, tell families their loved one's time is limited, and give them the statistical odds of survival.
The second time I entered an oncology office was again with my Dad, this time for a second opinion. That long wait from the time you are seated in a tiny exam room to the time the doctor actually enters the room seemed so much longer and harder to sit through than the wait at any other doctor's appointment I've ever had. Our experience in this office was much more positive, because we were given hope.
My Dad was not treated like just another statistic with a 5% chance of being alive in 5 years. We learned about more treatment options and heard stories of positive outcomes. My mom and I were feeling a little better about the situation when we walked out of that office with a plan.
My Dad was admitted to the ICU a week later and started his Interleukin 2 treatments. We were blessed with some wonderful, caring, and skilled nurses. They checked in on my Dad frequently and monitored him closely.
They not only did everything they could to make his stay comfortable, but they always asked if there was anything they could do for us. They offered us snacks and drinks and really went above and beyond to make us comfortable. The team of nurse's on this particular unit had taken the initiative to make their own pamphlet with information about the treatment.
They gathered information from previous patient's experiences to help give their patients the best education on what to expect. The team of doctors and nurses encouraged him and let him know how impressed they were with how good he was tolerating the treatment.
The team of nurse's that took care of my Dad really made an impact on me and has really made me take a hard look at myself as a nurse. I felt confident that my Dad was receiving some of the best care there is while he was hospitalized.
I've so many times heard someone say, "This isn't a hotel," and I know I too am guilty. They didn't have to offer to bring drinks, snacks, extra pillows, or blankets to us as visitors, but they did. This seems like such a small simple gesture, but it really meant a lot. The little things that we tend to complain about as nurses can make such a big impact on a family dealing with a difficult situation. The nurse's didn't have to create that pamphlet for their patients, but they did.
It's hard to understand just what the patient's family is going through until you ARE the patient's family. These nurses went above and beyond even while working in one of the toughest specialties I could imagine and I have great respect for them. I hope someday I can make just a great as impact on someone else as they have on me.Last edit by Joe V on Jan 9, '15
I am an RN in a small rural hospital as well as for the local EMS. I've been working in the IT dept. for about a year now, but still occasionally get to help with patient care. I'm the oldest of 4 girls and am very close to my family.
Joined: Jun '08; Posts: 295; Likes: 257
Specialty: 10 year(s) of experience in ER, OB, Med-Surg, Geriatric, ClinicSep 4, '12I bow to oncology nurses. It is a department that I never want to work in. How they can take care of people that are in their prime and losing a battle to a horrible disease is beyond me. I just cannot do it.
One of my best friends is a chemo nurse. God Bless her.:bowingpurSep 4, '12Thank you for your thoughts and insight. Your nursing practice will be enriched by your personal experiences!Sep 5, '12Never give up hope!!! I think the difference is you were not demanding things, and did not expect what they did, and were grateful. It's the families that come in and expect, demand and complain that the nurses are not doing enough, that really bother most.
Kudos to those nurses, but also Kudos to you and your family, because your family is the type that nurses want to go above and beyond for.Sep 5, '12Quote from jeannepaulYou're right we did not demand anything extra and never would, but even if we were that type of family we never would have had a chance to demand anything because these nurse's offered us those little things before we ever had a chance to ask for them.Never give up hope!!! I think the difference is you were not demanding things, and did not expect what they did, and were grateful. It's the families that come in and expect, demand and complain that the nurses are not doing enough, that really bother most.
Kudos to those nurses, but also Kudos to you and your family, because your family is the type that nurses want to go above and beyond for.Sep 5, '12I had an almost identical experience with my Dad and melanoma. I felt the same way about the nurses and they are the reason I switched careers and went into nursing. Oncology nurses are a special breed and they have my utmost respect. I wish you and your family the best.Sep 5, '12Best wishes to your dad on his journey.It is amazing the insight being on the "other side of the siderails" (even as a visitor/family member) can give us.Sep 6, '12I regularly work in oncology doing bank shifts. Its a marmite subject really, some people like it some people don't, but I found the whole atmosphere surrounding oncology nursing completely different to that in other areas of the hospital. I personally enjoy helping people to fight their battle and give their cancer hell, and If it goes one way or the other, you know that you've given that person the strength and dignity they need. I also found that the resources in oncology areas were so much better due to help from charities. This enables me to give the care that I can be proud of and that I think everyone deserves.
Good luck to your Dad, tell him to 'keep truckin' they do amazing things in oncology xSep 7, '12This article helped me re-evaluate my perspective on "little things" and the attitude with which I perform them. You know, "Argh, they're asking for ice chips while I'm trying to do x-y-z important stuff, don't they know I'm BUSY?" Yeah, sure, I'm busy, but as long as I'm (quickly) passing ice chips, I can do it w/ a smile rather than a chip on my shoulder.Sep 7, '12Im a CNA float in the hospital and my favorite floor is Medical Oncology. I love the patients. I love the families. I love being part of their fight. I lost my mom to cancer and my dad is a survivor. I love the perspective every time the sun rises after a long night. It's emotionally intense, no doubt, and not my first choice of specialty right now, as I start, but definitely something I'm interested in in the future. Thank you for your article and I hope you and your family find peace in your journeys.Sep 7, '12Quote from zingyrocksFunny you should say that, he's actually a truck driver! lol. He's been in great spirits and taking everything very well, although it took a little bit for him to get to this point. Hopefully in a few weeks he will literally get to 'keep truckin.'Good luck to your Dad, tell him to 'keep truckin' they do amazing things in oncology x
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