Oncology nurses have the power to heal, and in many cases, the power to inspire their patients no matter their age.
Hi, my name is Hallie Bea Barnard. I have been sick with Diamond-Blackfan anemia my whole life, waiting for my bone marrow match, and more recently found out I have cancer in my thighbone.
Last November, I was admitted to the Cook Children’s Health Care System (don’t worry — they don’t really cook children!) for my bone marrow transplant. Before I was admitted, I told my bone marrow transplant doctor, Dr. (Gretchen) Eames, that I wanted to grow up and become a doctor but that I didn’t know if I could do it, because I don’t have a good bedside manner.
When my brother fell off the stool at our house, there was so much blood, I told him he was going to die. But Dr. Eames said that I would meet so many doctors and nurses, learn from them, and take what I liked the most from each of them. She was right.
I spent 60 days in isolation. I had only my mom, dad, granny, and aunts Micki and Brandi to visit me. The doctors and nurses who worked with me became my friends and family. My most favorite nurse is McKenzie Siegmund, B.S.N., RN. She is nice, beautiful, smart and funny. But what I really like is that she is my friend, and she listens to me and helps me.
When I got my chemotherapy, I had really bad mucositis and I couldn’t swallow at all. I had an NG (nasogastric) tube placed for 30 days because I couldn’t eat. Nurse McKenzie told me that she believed in me so much and knew that I could do it.
She taught me how to swallow. She encouraged me to be my best and try my hardest, and she believed in me so much that I started to believe in myself. I don’t want to be a doctor anymore; I want to be a nurse — a nurse just like McKenzie, so I can help children who are sick and I can believe in them the way she believed in me. I also think that nurses should get paid more than doctors, but that is a different essay.