Oncology Nurses Month – Why ‘Thank You’ Will Never Feel Like Enough
Throughout their careers, oncology nurses will impact thousands of families and lives. They are advocates, friends, extended family, and confidants during a unique and challenging time of life. They defined our cancer experience in unimaginable yet incredible ways.
I can’t imagine Kirsten’s experience without her nurses by her side. They served a vital role in providing normalcy, support, and companionship when she desperately needed it. They listened without judgment, allowed her to speak her mind, and gave her the space to be her authentic self in her new home. Those simple conversations about normal things mattered, restored hope, and kept her sane and upbeat in a place that could otherwise be very lonely and sad.
And the nurses knew when to go the extra mile or facilitate connections that put the wind back in her sails. They made time during their busy shifts to walk the halls with her, take a break in the garden with her, or just hang out in her room and joke for a few minutes. They made defining moments like her 20th birthday, and the end of treatment feel special with beautiful colorful posters and singing.
When her world started to fall apart unexpectedly, they were the trusted friends that spoke to her with compassion and honesty, allowing her to calmly come to terms with her fate. And when we knew there was no turning back, they came to her side to say one last goodbye.
Those countless moments of compassion and support from her nurses brought Kirsten hope, joy, laughter, and in the end, peace.
The hardest thing we had to do after saying goodbye to Kirsten was saying goodbye to our extended family of oncology nurses. When her experience was over, so was our connection to the only world we knew for those seven months. We understood why it had to end, but it felt like we lost more than a child that day.
Since starting the b-present Foundation, I have had the pleasure of reconnecting with this fantastic community, and I continue to learn about and be inspired by how they fight for young adults behind the scenes. It gives me great hope for the future. They navigate the delicate balance between the rules and the humanity they know is needed. They meet and brainstorm how to make things better, sharing ideas and support, knowing they are all fighting for the same cause.
Improving the Quality and Impact of the Young Adult Support Network Workshop hosted by the b-present Foundation on November 14 & 15, 2019
After treatment is over, they work tirelessly to provide continued support, stay connected, create meaningful experiences, and new memories for the survivors ready to move forward and conquer the world with their own amazing gifts. Especially during times like these, I can only imagine the challenges oncology nurses face daily. It must be exhausting. Yet they stay the course with courage and compassion, facing the unimaginable time and again, giving each young adult the hope, normalcy, and escape they need.
‘Thank You’ Oncology Nurses
‘Thank you’ never seems like enough, and today is no exception. To the oncology nurses around the world, we appreciate you, we are grateful for your endless sacrifices, and we can’t imagine what the journey would be like without you by our side.