Last summer, I let you know that I was becoming an Oncology Nurse. I started in August, and was on the solid tumor oncology floor for 6 months. I learned a lot and had experiences with patients that I’ll always remember, but I realized that working in oncology was too close to home for me. My BRCA mutation and family history of cancer was what originally drew me to oncology, but working in it in real life, especially the end of life process, was emotionally difficult. Luckily, I worked in an environment where I felt comfortable enough to share my concerns with my managers, who were very supportive. I was very open with them during the interview process about my BRCA mutation and family history, and they totally understood why I was having a difficult time.
I got extremely lucky to be able to transfer within the same hospital to my other nursing passion, and become a Perinatal Nurse. I’m now working in the Postpartum unit and I’ll eventually cross-train in Labor & Delivery. I feel like I’ve found my calling in nursing. I love all of the patient education in perinatal nursing, and being a part of such an important milestone in my patients’ lives. I’m still going to be very involved with cancer prevention and my work in the BRCA community, and I’ll keep you all posted on my ongoing BRCA journey.
I’m honored to have been invited to speak about my BRCA journey at the next Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) meeting in LA. I’m also studying for my NCLEX examination (the board exam to give me my nursing license). NCLEX studying has been pretty much all-consuming, so it was really nice to take a step back to prepare my ONS talk and see how far I’ve come on this journey.
My presentation is a combination of information that nurses would find helpful to know about BRCA, and also my personal story. I incorporated a lot of photos in the talk, and it was incredible to look through the recovery photos and think about how far I’ve come. I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since my mastectomy. I couldn’t have done it without everyone’s support.
Also, I’m in the process of updating the site to include more resources, so stay tuned! Now, back to NCLEX land.
I have so many to-do lists, that I decided to take a minute to write out an accomplishment list instead. Here’s what I accomplished this week.
- Went to Zumba for the first time since before my prophylactic mastectomy (I’m sore but I survived)
- Worked my first 3 days in a row of 12+ hour shifts (I’m tired but I survived)
- Hit my 2 month since exchange surgery mark (I can go swimming and take a bath now)
- The UCLA Oncology Nursing Club that I co-founded had its first event with City of Hope, and it went really well!
- For the first time, I chose to watch PBS instead of Bravo. I feel super mature now. Atul Gawande is one of the only people that could do that. Everyone should watch it, it’s really important.
Florence Nightingale is definitely one of my heroes. She is a total bada$$. She is said to be the founder of modern nursing, the person responsible for creating professional nursing training schools, and an incredible statistician. She was called “the lady with the lamp” because during the Crimean War, she made rounds at night to the wounded soldiers. Every day that I’m in clinical rotations I love nursing more and more.
Here’s one of my favorite quotes from the lady with the lamp:
“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”
– Florence Nightingale