I love my job. It’s been my dream since I was a kid. But sometimes… I really hate my job.
I don’t have kids, nor do I ever pretend to know what parenting is like. I’ve heard the phrase “being a parent is like watching your heart beat from the outside” and I’ve always thought how scary of a feeling that could be. I’ve never been able to relate to that statement… and then I became a pediatric oncology nurse.
Being a peds hem/onc nurse is like watching your heart beat from the outside. It’s setting up boundaries to protect your heart, but knowing you’ll likely cross them anyways. It’s doing your best to detach yourself from work and home, but knowing you can’t do the job without becoming attached. It’s forming an unbreakable bond with the kids, knowing that time is not on our side. It’s willingly giving every little ounce of yourself in each shift and then coming home with nothing left to give. It’s clocking out at the end of your shift, knowing you might not ever see your little friend again.
I have the best job in the world, but it’s the hardest job in the world. Investing emotional and physical energy into healing a child and getting them to live their best life is a privilege. Hearing a child has no other treatment options left after fighting like hell to survive, is a devastation. Nurses… we’re not the parents, but we feel it all. Every celebration and every heartbreak. It’s not just 12 hours… it’s a lifetime.