What’s your specialty?

I’ve dealt with a lot of transitions in the last year: finishing graduate school, moving into a new home, giving birth to a second child, and starting a new job. The adjustment of having another baby was obviously the most difficult thing to deal with, but moving from the area of oncology nursing to pediatric nursing comes in a close second.

For nine years, I worked in an oncology setting. I loved oncology. For years, I swore I’d never do any other kind of nursing. Then, after having kids, I wanted to be home more, and going back to floor nursing allowed more flexibility and fewer days a week at work. A part time job on peds came up on the job board, and I figured I could handle it since I took care of my own kids, right?
As an oncology nurse, I heard the phrase, "I don’t know how you do it. Oncology nurses are angels," at least once a week. After receiving such meaningful comments from patients and families, it was easy to think that oncology nursing is the most difficult, stressful, special, and rewarding job there is, which made it hard to leave.

Last week, I took the Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) Provider Course as part of the requirements for my new job. The whole concept of learning about performing in a code situation after working in an area where the majority of clients have chosen No-Code status made me pretty anxious to begin with. At the end of the day we watched several 10 second video clips of children in respiratory distress. Seeing those kids immediately brought to mind images of my own babies. I felt a lump in my throat, and hoped no one else noticed my chin quivering. I realized how heroic the healthcare providers who care for sick kids really are. If you ask any parent what the most important thing in their life is, they will most certainly answer: their children. And when you are in the situation of having a seriously ill child, you want only the best people caring for him. I had respect for my new co-workers before the class, but as I walked out, I had a whole new level of appreciation and admiration for them.

It made me think, each specialty within nursing really does require special nurses. I started to think about critical care nurses and the lives they save every day, and hospice nurses and the profound difference they make in the lives of patients and families. It takes a certain bravery to go out into a patient’s home (and with some homes, even more bravery than others) and provide home health care. Whatever area of nursing is out there, it takes a highly skilled, compassionate nurse to do the job. I had a whole new awareness that even though there are some places I would NEVER want to work as a nurse, I am thankful for nurses who do.

What is your specialty? Why do you love it, and what made you choose it?


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