May is Oncology Nursing Month, and though nursing overall is a career long overdue for celebration, oncology nurses are especially deserving of acknowledgment.  They offer medical care, pain relief and compassionate support to cancer patients in every stage of treatment from beginning chemotherapy to end of life hospice care.  It’s a job in which every day may bring both the joy of a successful recovery and the heartbreak of losing a patient with whom an emotional bond has formed.  Oncology nurses also support and inform patients’ families during treatment and provide invaluable assistance to physicians, surgeons and other hospital staff.  It is safe to say that without them oncology wards and clinics would be unable to function in a manner that allows individuals with cancer to get the best quality care with hope of the best possible outcome.

With many hospitals across the country facing near insurmountable budget cuts, not just oncology nurses but all nurses may find themselves without all the necessary equipment to provide patient care.  Most are already required to provide their own uniforms and scrubs, as well as stethoscopes, penlights and all-purpose dressing scissors.  Traveling home health care nurses may be further responsible for acquiring blood pressure monitors, fingertip pulse oximeters and other accessories, as well as tote bags to keep it all organized for quick and easy access.  Though nursing is generally considered a well-paying career, it’s also one of the most stressful, exacerbated by long hours, emotional and physical exhaustion and often a lack of respect and support from doctors and hospital administration.  Due to the economic crisis of the last few years, nursing also no longer boasts the job stability it once had.

If you know a nurse, show your appreciation in May by thanking them for their service in a difficult job.  Send flowers, offer to take them to lunch or dinner, or even consider providing them with one of the accessories mentioned above as a gift.  If nothing else, let them know that they’re the unsung heroes of healthcare, and you’re grateful for their hard work and dedication.  They deserve to hear it!

Gena Radcliffe
Medex Supply Blogger

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