Patient Perspective (Published on January 27th, 2017)
Most nursing students go into nursing because they have always wanted to help and care for people, or because they had an experience from a family member with a chronic illness. As future nurses, we try to get into the mindset of “What can I do for my patient and how can I guide them to a better quality of life?” This semester I had two identities: SAC nursing student and patient. I was having right sided pain for a couple months and I mentioned it during a physical exam for nursing school. Luckily, I was on summer vacation so I was able to do follow up imaging and examination for the pain. It was only the beginning of the semester when I was informed, “Your liver biopsy came back hepatocellular carcinoma. I’m sorry, it’s cancer.” I was flabbergasted and immediately thought, my career path is over. I thought I would have to drop out and find a way to pay for treatment. I went to clinical the next day distraught, wondering what my plan would be. I had a patient that day with cancer and wondered if that would be me, undergoing chemotherapy. We had just gone over cancer in lecture so I was well aware of the chemotherapy side effects and how cancer destroys the body. Over the semester, I became more aware of how it really felt to be a patient in the hospital and how unsure the future could be. But I also saw how the simplest of acts such as getting blankets, bringing a food tray, or just conversing with the patient impacts recovery on most patients. I could secure some kind-hearted doctors and surgeons to take my case and opted for a resection of my liver. I finished the semester strong and within that weekend after the final, I was going into surgery. I awoke a day later due to complications, but the nurse who took care of me while I was unconscious in the ICU came to visit me while I was on the medical-surgical floor. She said not to give up since I was given another opportunity to continue nursing. The med-surg nurse and the CNA’s were just as compassionate and caring as I strive to be. I felt motivated during my hospital stay, determined to give other patients and their family members the same compassionate touch. I know not all my patients will have positive outcomes like mine, however, I know that I have the empathy to give them exceptional care. After all, who are we? We are Santa Ana!