June 26, 2011

Only The Good Die Young

Yesterday was the memorial service for one of my patients who passed away on June 16. Tracy was just 30 years old. It is only times like this when I feel sad and depressed about what I do.

Tracy and her husband were two of the first people I had the opportunity to meet and care for when I was cross-training at the Cancer Institute. I was working at the main hospital at the time on the inpatient Oncology unit, but had been trying to get a job in the Cancer Institute for some time. I introduced myself to Tracy and her husband, Romeo and told them how I was just helping out in the infusion center that day, but would love to work in the infusion center permanently and that caring for cancer patients is my passion. Tracy and Romeo smiled at me and promised that they would "put in a good word" for me (I was hired the next week). Immediately, I felt their kindness.

In nursing school we were told on our first clinical day to maintain a strict patient/nurse relationship and that we are not to become close with any patient. In my opinion, working in a field such as Oncology, nurses should not be expected to follow this rule. Oncology nurses are caring for patients at such an uncertain and frightening time of their lives. There is a certain amount of closeness that occurs amongst nurses and patients, at least where I work. Tracy and Romeo were two people that I could not help, but to become close with. Tracy had such a kind, caring spirit, and a love for life. Tracy was a huge Baltimore Orioles fan and advocate for the MD SPCA. Despite her cancer diagnosis, she was constantly doing things for others never once feeling sorry for herself. Tracy has inspired me to keep doing what I do and I will never forget her.

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