Conversations with the Father of a Cancer Survivor
March 23, 2018 – Kim Johnson
Guilt Is Good, Says One Cancer Survivor
March 23, 2018 – Kevin Berry
What Does Radiation Therapy Do to the Heart?
March 22, 2018 – Ryan Hamner
Thoughts from the Mother of a Survivor
March 22, 2018 – Kim Johnson
Women's History Month: Women as Leaders, Builders and Survivors
March 21, 2018 – Tamera Anderson-Hanna
Mt. Everest in the Day to Day
March 21, 2018 – Heather Millar
It's Not Always Cancer
March 21, 2018 – Mike Verano
Creative Ways to Celebrate Your Cancerversary
March 20, 2018 – Bonnie Annis
On Turning 40 and Celebrating Another Year
March 20, 2018 – Dana Stewart
Women's History Month: Honoring Senator Ellis, Pioneer, Legislator and Cancer Survivor
March 20, 2018 – Felicia Mitchell

Nurses and Patients: A Necessary Seperation

It is important to learn boundaries between nurses, patients and caregivers when in a clinical setting.
PUBLISHED March 05, 2018
Kim is a nursing student who is hoping to find her place amongst the phenomenal oncology nurses and doctors who cared for her sister. She loves reading, volunteering and enjoying the outdoors of Colorado.
While my sister was going through cancer, her care team - specifically her nurses - was a saving grace. On long nights while she tried to rest, they coached me on what was to come. They provided comfort when I often felt so alone. And when I realized what some of them had already known, they began to teach and prepare me for what being a nurse would really be like. To this day, some of her nurses are some of my closest friends.

In nearly three years, birthdays and babies came to pass. I went to baby showers, graduations and had parties. While all this was happening, I did not think much of it because it made sense. We were in that hospital almost more than we were at home. My late fiancé worked in that hospital, and even when home, we would all go out and grab dinner and drinks together.

My sister was just 27 when she was diagnosed, and I was a 23-year-old caregiver. Most, if not all, of her nursing team fell between us in age. It meant we had a lot to talk about and, with how much time she sent in the hospital, we all got to know one another fairly well. The fifth floor came to refer to us the "the sisters" and myself and a CAN gained the nickname "double trouble" for some of our antics.

Having worked in the field of oncology, I now better understand the need for separation between personal and private lives. While I will always be eternally grateful for every moment of time that was so graciously given to my sister and me, I know that certain boundaries were broken. In a way, I was the gray area amongst many black-and-white rules, since I was not the patient, even though I spent just as much time in the hospital as she did.

Having lost patients that I worked with, I now know how hard that can be. And I can't imagine the heartbreak that our care team would have experienced, because when my sister was at her sickest, I know that many of the nurses were hurting at her potential loss just as we, her family, were.

And as I head into the field of oncology, a field that is already incredibly difficult, I can't imagine enmeshing myself into the life of a patient beyond the clinical setting. That is not to say that nurses should not exhibit humanity and kindness with patients or celebrate birthdays and wish one another well. It is to say that sometimes, friendships are not best formed with those that you are caring for.
Be the first to discuss this article on CURE's forum. >>
Talk about this article with other patients, caregivers, and advocates in the General Discussions CURE discussion group.

Related Articles


Sign In

Not a member? Sign up now!

Sign Up

Are you a member? Please Log In