A nurse is a protector, a beacon of light amidst all forms of illness and disease that can surround a person’s mind, body and soul. Nurses are the frontline, the eyes and ears of the medical profession. Gut-intuition directs our every move and powers all our decisions.
Nursing is a team sport; no one wins the game alone. Each member of our multidisciplinary team plays an integral role in our collective mission to heal the sick. The most important members of our health care team are our patients and their loved ones. Their strength and resilience against all odds is what pushes us to further our knowledge of the physiology behind various diseases and work harder to find the treatments needed to extinguish them.
I am a cancer nurse, a blood and marrow transplant nurse. I work on WCC6 at the Wilmot Cancer Center, a 16-bed unit specifically designed to provide patients with leukemia, lymphoma, myelodysplastic syndrome and multiple myeloma with a second chance at life. Through our chemotherapy and radiation regimens, along with our accreditation to provide stem-cell rescue therapies, many patients who once thought their cancer diagnosis was a death sentence are back living life and thriving.
Being a BMT nurse has helped me to see that I am a part of something much bigger than myself. My team and I help to give second chances, which allows our patients to continue living life to the fullest.
My BMT co-workers never cease to amaze me through the selfless and devoted care they provide to our patients on a daily basis. We meet our patients at their most vulnerable points in life, extend our hands and ask them to trust in us and the work we do.
Our transplant unit in particular is more like a family than anything else — patients and staff combined. We spend weeks and sometimes months together, and this time lends us the opportunity to learn who our patients truly are as people, outside of their cancer diagnoses.
Every person has a story to tell, so I’ll sit and listen, exchange a warm smile or two and then with a happy heart I’ll make my exit. To be a good listener speaks louder than words ever will, that’s what patients really want and sometimes that’s the best medicine, simply knowing someone cares. That’s what it means to be a nurse.