Fri, Sep 13, 2019 at 02:00 PM
Thirteen years as an oncology nurse have taught Tammie Bynum that medicine and technology aren't always the most important aspects of care.
Nurses often say making a difference in a person’s life is one of the best parts of their job. That happens during every shift to a certain degree. But sometimes a nurse is called to do something that stays with her for the rest of her life. She knows then that nursing is far more than a profession. It is a calling.
Below is the first-hand account of one of those life-altering situations experienced by Tammie Bynum, an oncology nurse who has worked in the Marshall Cancer Care Center since it opened in 2013. She has been an oncology nurse for 13 years.
“I truly believe God opened a door when I started as a chemotherapy nurse. I work in an area where you see the patients often. We administer many drugs in addition to chemotherapy. A chemo nurse not only has to be attentive, quick thinking, responsible and thorough, she also must be caring and compassionate. The unique demands of the job can bring chemo nurses especially close to our patients and their families.
We become like family to most patients, especially if they come for many years. They learn to trust us and lean on us in times of need. Some days are full of laughter and joy. Some days are full of tears and sorrow. I feel honored when a patient asks me to pray for them. I don’t see how anyone can go through cancer treatments without faith. I offer my spiritual support whenever it is needed.
Some time ago I received a message at about 9 pm on a Saturday night from the spouse of a patient I had taken care of for more than five years. The patient was at Shepherd’s Cove. She said they needed me so I went. Upon arrival, I could see the patient (my patient) was dying. The family was very tired and I offered to stay with him while they got some much needed rest. The entire night I prayed over him, hoping he could hear me and, if needed, make things right.
This patient had become like a brother to me during his time with us being treated for his cancer, and he told me many times that I felt like a sister to him. When someone tells you that, it pulls on your heartstrings and it humbles you. I stayed with him until 6:30 the next morning when one of his sons relieved me. I had only been gone an hour when he passed. The family was very grateful for my willingness to stay with him that night, which turned out to be his last night. I will never forget that night because God’s hand was in it. I am so thankful that I was there with him because it was a blessing in disguise. Had I not picked up my phone and checked it before going to bed that night, I would have missed being able to be there for him when he needed me the most.
I truly believe God puts people where they need to be and I truly believe He placed me where I am now. I’m very thankful for all the blessings I receive at work each day.” Each day is a different one, you never know what impact you are going to make on a patient. What they don’t know is they are making an impact on us as well.”