When I began my journey as a nursing student my only goal was to one day be a nurse in an oncology unit. When my dad had cancer his nurses were amazing. They made that difficult time for us much easier because we were confident that he was in good hands. That overwhelming feeling was what made me want to be an oncology nurse. I knew that if those sweet women could give our family that peace, then I too could give that peace to another family. God continued to prepare my heart for oncology nursing my entire time at Auburn. Whether it was going to clinicals at the Hospice facility, or having 3 patients with a terminal illness in one day he prepared me. He continues to bless me daily with the reminder that this life is not all that we are promised.
Last week I started my preceptorship on the oncology unit at Huntsville Hospital. My preceptor is amazing! I feel right at home on that floor and I am confident that I am where God has hand picked for me to be. Before going to preceptorship I had this fear that the oncology floor would be somber and quiet all the time. It is anything but!! These patients are exactly who I need in my life. Even with terminal illnesses or chemo running through their veins they are by far the kindest and most generous people I have ever met. It has been my personal observation that patients who don't have many days left to live are the ones who find the most to live for. They realize how precious time is and they take nothing for granted. Their hope and smiles keep me wanting to go back every single day. I can't even begin to describe the feeling I get when I walk into a sweet older mans room and see him laughing with his wife and grown daughter. My patients have all found so much joy in the day to day tasks!
One evening it was time to change the IV site of one patient. He is known for having difficult veins because of all the treatments he has been receiving. This did not stop my preceptor from letting me try to get a good vein. She had full confidence that I could do it. This particular patient was hard of hearing as well so explaining the procedure was not an easy task. The first try was unfortunately a failure. I got the vein but then as we were flushing the line the vein blew. So try try again. After many minutes of searching for another vein that would work we found one that was ok. It was not my first choice, but my preceptor said to try it so I did. The same thing happened again and I blew the vein after inserting the IV catheter. I was a bit flustered at my lack of skills for the moment. I knew I had done the best I possibly could have, but as a nurse nothing makes you feel dumber than blowing a vein. My preceptor stepped out of the room for a minute to answer a page from the doctor and left me alone in the room with the patient and his sweet family. I was standing there trying to tell myself that I'll get it next time when my sweet patient said, "Jessica don't be sad you couldn't get the IV. The most important thing is that you tried, so just keep trying." It's moments like those when I know I'm in the right profession. I wanted to hug him!! He and his wife were just so encouraging!! I am so blessed by my patients.