Reflections Of An OR Nurse
Nursing was something I never considered. When my mother-in-law was diagnosed with breast cancer in the 1970s, I wasn’t a nurse. I still wasn’t a nurse when my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1980. I was working in the corporate world—as non-nursing as one could get. By the time my mother’s cancer had metastasized, I was already in nursing school. I was interested in health care. I thought it was a practical profession with the potential to work flexible hours, raise a family, etc.
In March 1994 it was apparent to all that my mother would not live to see me graduate that May. She would not live to see me “pinned.” One of my professors offered to travel to my mother’s hospital room and “pin” me in front of my mother, even though graduation was still two months away. I never forgot the kindness of this teacher. This nurse.
I was fortunate to become an Operating Room nurse. Somewhere along the line, I developed a niche in the area of breast surgery with or without reconstruction. It meant so much to me to be able to speak to these women while they waited to go into the operating room. To hold their hands. To answer their questions. To speak to family members. To assure them all that I would be at her side while she went to sleep. That I would make sure she was safe, warm and comfortable. That I would protect her during the procedure. That I was the eyes and ears for all that was going on in the room. That everyone on the team was there for HER.
I was so fortunate to work with a team of surgeons and anesthesiologists who shared my passion and my compassion. We left no stone unturned to ensure a positive outcome for our patients. These women could be our sisters, our mothers, our daughters. We all felt such a vested interest in caring for our patients.
I retired in June 2016. I miss my surgeons. I miss my patients. But I continue working with women while they are undergoing mammograms and ultrasounds in my local hospital. I am a volunteer —but I still have that same compassion and passion that I also hope to bring as a volunteer for Sharsheret.