First, let me explain. On Orthopedics, I usually see people pretty battered, but usually fixed up, and walking out the front door. The last few weeks, we have had numerous people admitted who come in with a fracture, and then receive the news that they found a "spot of interest" on the x-rays. Lately, this has been cancer.
An oncology nurse will be exposed to these people everyday, and therefore get a sense of "comfort" around cancer patients, meaning they will know what to say to them, and how to offer support. One of my patients received the devastating news yesterday, and today found out that it was inoperable.
She began the day with "I got some bad news yesterday." I knew what was coming, but didn't really figure it would work into my normal morning routine. As she told me the news, her eyes welled up with tears, and her voice began to tremble. I just held her hand, and told her that with today's technology anything was still possible. Now I know that we are professionals, but I am human first. As I was telling her this, my eyes filled with tears too. I'm sure everybody knows someone who has been hit by cancer. I told her that I would do everything possible to make her stay with us a comfortable as possible, and to ask any questions that she or her family had. Doctors are notorious for walking into a room, telling a patient some bad news, then excusing themselves as if nothing happened. We the nurses are left to do the damage control, and personally I wouldn't have it any other way. This is the hardest part of my job, but the most necessary as far as I'm concerned...
I consider myself lucky to be able to give this lady some hope and some laughter, even if it's for a short while. Sometimes I really hate my job, but sometimes I really love it too.