Getting patient A ready to go home on hospice while family member from patient B is in the hall crying for me because she has questions about what to do now, and a patient a few rooms down was just found non-responsive… Yep. That’s what my first day of interning looked like. Let me tell you, I’ve read about all of this in nursing books and I have passed all my tests leading me up to be an RN on the floor, but damn. It’s a whole other world when you are actually up and doing it yourself.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
So I’m half way through my precepting (last internship) hours and I am really feeling that warmth flowing down my inner legs. Yep, I am ready to pee myself any minute during these shifts! During my orientation of the hospital my precepting nurse opened a door to what looked like a closet and told me, “this is where we go to cry!” Welcome to Oncology.
It’s amazing, to see people come in and get treated, but I’m not working in the emergency room anymore… This is a hospital unit just for patients with cancer diagnosese. It’s sad watching my patient receive chemotherapy for the first time. It’s heart breaking to watch my coleges comfort a young wife after finding out there’s nothing else medicine can do for the young husband.
“I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account.”
One morning in particular, I was assigned to three out of four patients. Remember, all of them are in some sort of critical situation and are living with and/or fighting cancer right now. It was so heart breaking but I told myself that I am so honored to be able to be that person to hold their hand through this rough part of life. I get to see these people in their most vulnerable states, and they look to my team members and I for support and comfort.
Well about an hour in to my shift I received a few calls that I ignored, and then a couple text messages. My grandmother, whom I take care of as much as she needs, is in need of going back to the hospital. My cousin who is fighting cancer for the third time is no longer recieving treatment due to not being healthy enough, and my grandfather is having his first chemo treatment this week. Everything around me hit way too close to home now. The minute my preceptor met with me again, I apologized for what may be unprofessional or inappropriate and excused myself for the day.
“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.”
Yes, being an intern in a new hospital is terrifying. Carrying around my drug book, aka new bible, to make sure I don’t medicate someone incorrectly is exhausting. Most of all, knowing four people’s lives are in my hands and their well being is based on my nursing judgement… Yes, my nerves make me throw up! I’ve thrown up, starved, binged, cried, screamed, and even zoned out during important phone calls. Interning feels like the most difficult thing in the world. That’s until I remember other people are dealing with bigger issues.