My name is Emily and I'm in my first year of a graduate nursing degree in Melbourne. My background is in cancer biology research and this work has established itself as one of my biggest passions . While cancer is a terrible disease, I found that getting to the biochemical level of how cancer cells operate was fascinating- they are unbelievably adaptive and sneaky. But why did I move out of research and into nursing? Well in 2018, 3 family members were diagnosed with different cancers around the same time. When I went to visit them in hospital, I felt utterly hopeless. I could have educated them on how tumours arise, and the mechanism of action of chemotherapeutic drugs, but who would want to hear about their crippling condition on their hospital bed? When I saw my loved ones in their condition, I just wanted to do anything I could to make them feel better in that moment. And that's when the nurses walked into the room and showed me the way.
For some reason, nursing was never a career I thought to pursue, but that changed after I realised what a difference an incredible nurse can make to the healing of a patient. It has only been a couple of weeks since I've started my first semester of nursing, but the core of the nursing profession, 'patient-centred care,' has already been instilled in me. We are learning how to involve the patient in their own treatment to empower them, how to care for them while preserving their dignity in their most vulnerable conditions, and how to connect with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander patients to ensure culturally safe and appropriate care. Nurses are the advocates for their patients. They do everything from voicing their patients fears and trepidations to the doctors, administering medication for their infections and chronic illnesses to consoling them at 4am in the morning when they feel alone and scared. A hospital can be an overwhelming place, but I want to be that nurse that bathes you without making you feel humiliated, the nurse that explains your injuries or illness without frightening you, the nurse that speaks to your family and friends to reassure and comfort them. I want to be a nurse that you can depend on to look after you physically and emotionally.
My dream is to bridge my two career paths together. It would be a privilege to work in an area where I can interact with patients as well as continue my research into colorectal cancer therapeutics. However, for the time being, I'm focusing on learning how to be the best nurse I can be.
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