What are the most common responses when asked what specific field nursing students hope to go into?  When I was in school, it was always labor and delivery and pediatrics. I was no different from everyone else. I always wanted to become a labor and delivery nurse. I was even lucky enough to do my preceptorship in that field. Bringing babies into the world was unlike any experience I had ever imagined.Bringing babies into the world was unlike any experience I had ever imagined. The first few births I was present for caused me to get emotional (I was pregnant so that was easy), but like anything, it became easier each time. What I wasn’t prepared for was how quickly things could go from good to bad and from bad to worse. After finishing my time there, I felt it was a field that I would like to revisit after being in the real world of nursing first. The one field I always said I didn’t want to go into was oncology. Working with cancer patients would just be too hard.  

My First Nursing Job

When I applied for my first nursing job, it was a generic staff nurse position and the hospital set up interviews in units that had openings. I was scheduled to interview on three different floors in one afternoon. I took a deep breath as I walked into her office and thought to myself, don’t blow this!When I met with human resources that afternoon, they informed me that two out of the three managers were going to have to reschedule, due to conflicts that had come up. I was sent up to the fourth floor for my one interview. I was beyond nervous. All kinds of crazy ideas were running through my mind. Was she going to ask me clinical questions? Was I going to have to answer scenario questions? I took a deep breath as I walked into her office and thought to myself, don’t blow this! We talked for about an hour. When I left, I felt pretty good about how it went and had an overwhelming desire to work on this particular unit. I was offered the position a few weeks later and started the journey into my first nursing job…in oncology.  

Good with the Bad

Good with the Bad

As I progressed through my career, I quickly realized that there is a standard response when people ask you what you do for work. I would answer with, “I’m a nurse,” and that would be met with the question of asking what type of nursing I did. “I work in oncology,” I would say, and then the automatic response would come. “Ohhhh…that’s got to be tough”…how sad.” There is no denying that statement is true. It takes a huge toll emotionally in your life. I have held many hands as a last breath was taken, and I’m pretty sure I have broken almost every boundary that I ever learned about in school.I have held many hands as a last breath was taken, and I’m pretty sure I have broken almost every boundary that I ever learned about in school. The part that people don’t seem to think about is how incredible it is when you have a patient get great news after their treatment or keep coming back just to say hello and give you a hug year after year. You see, these patients become more like an extended family member than a “patient.” Many times you celebrate holidays with them while they are in the hospital, as well as birthdays and other important moments in their lives. What had become clear to me was that not only had I found a career in nursing, but I had found my passion in nursing.

Your “Why”

Always seek out your passion in anything you do. Not every field is right for every person, but hopefully you can find a place for yourself that makes you passionate about going to work each day. When days get tough, try to remember your “why?”. Why did I choose nursing in the first place and what do I want to bring to this field that nobody else can? Some days it might take a little more digging than others to remember that why…but it’s always in there.

 

Posted by Daphne Neuhaus, RN

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