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30 Years of nursing and going strong.

This year marks my 30th anniversary since I graduated from the University of Pittsburgh and began my nursing career. I also will complete my doctorate of nursing at the University of Utah this year and begin a new phase of nursing practice. I never have regretted becoming a nurse, and three recent experiences have reminded me how much nursing means to me.

First, I had the opportunity to share my nursing experiences with members of ONS's Lexington (KY) Chapter. The guests that evening included nursing students from local universities. Because I was charged with inspiring the students to choose oncology as their specialty, I selected "The Many Hats of an Oncology Nurse" as my presentation topic. As I prepared my presentation, I thoroughly enjoyed reminiscing about the many patients and families who taught me key lessons for my nursing practice.

The next experience occurred at the 2006 ONS Institutes of Learning in Pittsburgh, PA, where I reconnected with a nursing colleague who I had not seen for nearly 30 years. Carol Jones, RN, BSN, was a nurse on the oncology unit where I started my first nursing position. Although we kept in touch throughout the years, we had not seen each other. Carol and I reminisced about the patients, doctors, and nurses with whom we had interacted as well as the "war" stories of oncology care in its infancy.

Finally, my reminiscing came full circle as my youngest daughter completed her first semester as a nursing major at a local university. After several years in college and several majors, she decided that she really wanted to become a nurse. She transferred schools and moved back home. I have been serving as a mock patient as she learns physical assessment skills, a mentor in helping her pronounce medical terms and clinical applications, and a tutor as she studies for tests. I am amazed at the number of resources that are now available to nursing students. They have access to fully equipped laboratories, dummies on which to practice every scenario, textbooks accompanied by CD-ROMs, NCLEX[R] practice test questions for each section of pathophysiology class, and much more. She learns skills by watching videos online, practicing in the lab, and then caring for patients in the clinical setting.

Nursing is a wonderful career choice. Patients often give us more than they receive. My professional relationships are some of my dearest and most enduring friendships. Whatever stage of your career, I hope that you find the connections that will keep you thriving as an oncology nurse.

Debra Wujcik, RN, MSN, AOCN[R], Editor

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Title Annotation:EDITOR'S NOTE
Author:Wujcik, Debra
Publication:ONS Connect
Article Type:Editorial
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 1, 2007
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