Helping patients face cancer with a friendly face
I have been a Registered Nurse in the Oncology department at North York General for three years now. I work in the chemotherapy clinic, administering the treatment, counseling patients, and educating them on the effects of the treatment.
A passion for Oncology
Working in the Oncology department has always interested me. This choice may surprise many, but the challenge and empathy I feel while supporting patients through the difficult diagnosis of cancer and helping them manage their disease is what gives me great satisfaction.
Unlike many other departments, the relationship I share with patients isn’t short-lived. It extends over the entire period of their treatment– watching them fight this deadly disease through chemotherapy, react to and deal with the effects of the treatment. Then there are those who beat the disease and unfortunately others who don’t win the fight. It’s a road I walk with them every day, and I feel fulfilled to be able to support them through a trying time.
Cancer care during COVID-19
Working in cancer care during the COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on patients and on us. While all cancer treatment did not halt during the peak of the pandemic, family members were not allowed to accompany patients during chemotherapy.
I remember watching a young breast cancer patient come in to begin her treatment alone due to the restrictions. She had trouble absorbing all the information that was being shared about her disease and treatment. Seeing her struggle, we spoke on the phone with her family, putting their minds at peace and sharing key information that would be needed by the patient. Our hospital’s health care team always tries to make patients feel as comfortable and cared for as we can.
A collaborative spirit
One positive that I have seen through the pandemic has been the spirit of care and support at the hospital. Cancer care isn’t a one-department task. From nurses and doctors to pharmacists and psychologists, we all work collaboratively to improve the overall health of a cancer patient. During the pandemic, I saw each member not only play their part but go out of their way to support and empathize with each other. Simple things like laughing together, or bigger acts of selflessness at work, truly touched my heart during this challenging period.
The Staff Lottery
I don’t participate in any other lottery, but the 50/50 Staff Lottery gives me a chance to contribute to the hospital and give back to the community I serve. This lottery win is very well-timed as it falls during the holidays, and the time when my mother and my daughter celebrate their birthdays. It gives me an additional reason to celebrate.