The ward I work on is predominantly a children’s medical/ isolation ward but the majority of our patients these days are oncology patients that require isolation for one reason or another. So, it got me thinking about what it is that I like about nursing children with cancer?
Seems almost wrong to enjoy looking after children and their families who are dealing with the most terrible diseases, having treatment that makes them so so sick and often seeing them pass away. That said, the number who pass away gets less and less with all the advancements in treatment so thankfully there is still more good than bad in paediatric oncology.
So, what is it I enjoy?
Well, I really enjoy the continuity of care that we get by looking after long term patients, seeing them come from diagnosis right through until the end of treatment. I like that the families get to know us as much as we get to know them . I think it helps them to know that we know their children and it helps the kids because they know us.
The children being treated go through so much, lumbar punctures, chemo, blood and platelet transfusions, blood tests, nausea, vomiting , yet they on the whole tolerate these things with so much strength and they always try to smile whenever they can. The parents work out ways to explain the procedures, they might collect bravery beads, we might make sticker charts but every day we see these children they are just doing what needs to be done to get through.
I love the warm fuzzy feeling you get from knowing that in some small way you may have made a difference in the life of a child and their family. Holding a hand, letting a parent cry on your shoulder, laughing about something silly at a time when life seems hopeless, being honest when you say “it will hurt a bit”, listening when someone needs you to even if you don’t really have the time.
All these things add up and they mean as much to me as I hope they do to the children I care for.
Image credit: monkeyc, union of youth.
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