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Personal Experience

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The nurse’s profession is very meaningful – you give yourself to another person.

Language: English
Country: Lithuania
Typology: health care professionals
I have worked worked at the Oncology hospital, a branch of Kaunas Clinic, for twenty three years. During the last three years I have been with the Palliative Oncology unit, where the most serious patients in the last stages of cance rare treated. Our unit is a special one. Patients who arrive here usually have been treated before in many other medical institutions; they have gone through a number of treatment cycles, and they are tired of their illness and its treatment. Those who arrive here rarely expect any improvement of their health. Often their condition is worsening. Death is walking along our corridors. Sometimes that is the only help we can provide: suppress their pain and sit by their death bed. The particularity of our job is really special. The work is physically difficult as the patients often cannot take care of themselves; but it is most difficult in the moral sense. I am convinced that my work and that of my colleagues has a great meaning; however, there is no satisfaction in the work results: you give a part of yourself to the patient, do everything you can, but unfortunately his health is not improving. On the contrary: every day it deteriorates. The patient arrives at the Palliative nursing unit for the second and third time with even larger severity of metastases. It is difficult to sustain. When the illness is far advanced, we can help only by administering pain killers and saying a few nice words. Most probably, it is a nice word that works like a wound dressing. We sometimes miss the people closest to the patient at the time of his/her last hours before leaving this world. Perhaps the relatives are tired of nursing and long-lasting illness that is why sometimes they take the patient to us and abandon him/her. However, the patient needs their care and attention. Thus, we provide it as much as we can. “Profession has chosen us“I try not to take work issues and sad mood home. A necessary condition in our work is to learn how to distance oneself from the work problems and let them stay behind the hospital doors. But when a patient whom you have communicated warmly with dies, you can rarely suppress the tears. Such instances have been numerous. I always remember them. We had a lady patient who died still quite young. Her daughter was close to finishing her secondary school at the time. After a few years she greeted me at Christmas day and said: “When my mother passed away, I remember you as my second mother.” Such things are moving. You cannot put on a knight’s iron armour and not let it go into your heart. Although it is morally hard to work at the Palliative Oncology Unit, I am happy about our harmonious, friendly staff that I call my second family. The employees support each other. If a nurse has a very serious patient, all of us discuss the situation and try to solve the problems. Recently we feel there is more alienation in the society, and we come to work as if we visit our second family where one is surrounded by warm atmosphere. Our hospital has a very small employee turnover. People start to work here and stay for a long time.I believe that there are things in life that you cannot explain; you don’t know why they happen. Perhaps I can say that it wasn’t me who chose the profession of the nurse; it chose me. When I finished my secondary school, I read an ad that Panevėžys A. Domaševičius Medical School is collecting an experimental group of students with no entrance examinations, but with high grades of secondary school final exams. I thought to myself: exams are stressful, while this group means a sure enrolment. Besides, they promised to pay higher grants to those who had better grade average result. That also influenced my decision as I come from a large family. Thus, I went there. Everything happened unconsciously. But I believe I am in the right place. Diseases have no holidays. Although I am proud of my profession and speak of it at home; I do not encourage my children to take that road. My daughter Indrė studies philosophy abroad, and my son Erlandas is still a schoolboy. The nurse has to bear a huge psychological burden. She is a link between the patient and his/her relatives, between the patient and the doctor; however our hard work is not appreciated enough. We do not have any holidays, as illnesses do not have any and they do not take a rest. Our remuneration is small. Sometimes I make a joke: we can rejoice in all things small – we see a beautiful blue spring sky, the first greenery, so we can be happy with the same small wages... The salary is paid at the 5-th day of every month, so when we arrive at work we congratulate each other: “Girls, we work today for money!” We get the small salary and it is difficult to make both ends meet; however, we want that our children could live better. ”Nevertheless I am convinced: the nurse’s profession is very meaningful – you give yourself to another person.

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