I Don’t Want To Be A Pediatric Oncology Nurse

A few weeks ago, I walked into my patients room, tip toeing around trying to be as quiet as possible. If you know this little guy, you know that when his precious little body is getting rest… DO NOT wake him… unless you want the wrath ;). Oh this beautiful little boy, he has a sweet sweet soul, wise beyond his years and has suffered through months of hell. He’s sassy, but oh so funny and has the cutest voice I’ve ever heard. His dad was at the bedside, briefly looked up at me while I was hanging a medicine, then went back to his morning paper. I heard a mumble from behind the paper and I vaguely made out what he said “I hope to put you out of a job soon.”

Oh my gosh, I thought. I’ve never been told that before. What did I do wrong? Was he mad at something I did? I didn’t even wake up the patient! My heart sank. Questioning myself, I asked him why he said that. Oh it’s not you. We love you. We love everyone here. But we don’t want to be here. We don’t want childhood cancer to exist. If you don’t have a job, there’s no more cancer. I’m sure you’d appreciate that too, wouldn’t you?” I’m pretty stoic on the job, if something is breaking me down, you likely wouldn’t know it, but that man stopped me dead in my tracks and put a lump in my throat. He’s right. I don’t want to be a pediatric oncology nurse because I don’t want pediatric oncology to exist! If tomorrow you told me that there was a *humane* cure for childhood cancer and that me and my fellow nurses and ACP’s would be out of a job the next day? We’d celebrate. 

I LOVE my job… more than I could ever tell you. Everyone can attest to this, this is my passion and my calling. It’s been my dream since way before I can even remember. These kids and families teach me so many lessons and bring me so much joy. I love these kids, their families, my coworkers and that on any given day you can catch me in a nerf gun war or racing cars down the hallway… but my job shouldn’t exist. These kids that spend more time in the hospital than outside playing games… that shouldn’t exist. My new best friend in room 001 shouldn’t know that the methotrexate is going to make her get mucositis and that her friend down the hall likely won’t make it through the night. In a perfect world, she’d be hanging out with her friends at school scoping out who’s parents packed the best lunch. The real reality? Wondering when the next dressing change is due versus when their homework is due. School? An afterthought. Friends? Not if you’ve been sick or been around anyone sick. Going outside? If they’re lucky to be feeling well enough. 

I hope I speak for every single pediatric oncology medical team… put us out of pediatric oncology job. Help find a more *humane* cure for childhood cancers. Help CHANGE THE WORLD. The world is BETTER for letting these kids grow up. WE are better for helping these kids grow up. Some childhood cancers (DIPG) have a ZERO percent survival rate. 1 kid being diagnosed with cancer is 1 too many. Childhood cancer research only receives 3.8% of all research funds from the National Cancer Institute! Please, help me change the research world of childhood cancer. 

Cure Childhood Cancer

St. Baldrick’s Foundation

Children’s Cancer Research Fund

Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation

Fourth and Gold also donates 100% of proceeds to the above companies for childhood cancer research during all of September and 50% in the remaining months.

Love Your Melon donates 50% of proceeds to childhood cancer research all year long

I promise you- even if you gave up your $3 coffee all month and donated it to research, it would make a difference not just in the research world, but in your heart. Helping a child in need gives more joy than I could ever explain. They deserve SO much more.

Picture shared with written consent from patient, family and nurses involved. Fourth and Gold does not own rights to this picture. Copyright laws do apply. This picture is not for use in any other form other than this article.



2 thoughts on “I Don’t Want To Be A Pediatric Oncology Nurse

  1. I just read this article for the first time, and I could just picture all of my daughters Nurses saying the same thing. My daughter Laura, had ALL in 1992 when she was 3 yrs. old. Laura was a trouper through everything, but I don’t think I could’ve made it if it wasn’t for all of the amazing nurses. They obviously knew the right things to do and the right things to say. We were there when Joanne and Helen were too and they were my family back then. Even through years later, we got Xmas cards and post cards, etc. Laura is now 31 yrs. old! She has some long term issues, but otherwise she is doing good and is happy.

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