Pediatric oncology nursing has been my passion for over 35 years. I have been privileged to form long-lasting relationships with amazing families affected by childhood cancer.

A parent’s perspective

Through conversations with parents, I have gained perspective on the meaning of the relationship pediatric oncology nurses have with the families of children with cancer. I have compiled the following thoughts based on my interactions with parents over the course of time. These quotes are anonymous for the sake of privacy.

“Our pediatric oncology nurse is always there for us. She is the smiling face we look forward to seeing when we have appointments. She treats us as if we are the only family she cares for, giving us her undivided attention. She is never hurried, takes time to listen to our fears, providing reassurance along the way. She is the constant in the health care team.”

“Hearing the words “your child has cancer” makes your heart feel like it stopped and seems like a bad dream. Our nurse walked alongside us throughout the cancer journey, guiding us down the winding road, navigating bumps and detours along the way. She was a continual source of support and encouragement. She was present during our vulnerable days, always reminding us to take care of ourselves. She celebrated milestones, and provided a shoulder to cry on during uncertainty. She offered a listening ear, sharing silence when there were no words.”

“Our nurse taught us about cancer and its treatment, and how to prevent or minimize side effects.  She anticipated what was next, so there were no surprises. She encouraged us to question, provided resources and guided us in selecting reputable sources of information. She repeated information as she knew we would not remember everything the first time around. She empowered us to advocate for our child’s needs. She answered questions about clinical trials, providing updates on research findings.”

“Our nurse shares a special bond with our child, reserved for just the two of them. She treats our child as an individual, learning about what makes them unique. She normalized the cancer experience by encouraging socialization through school and camp, reducing stress through play and distraction. She set aside time to have fun, balancing silliness with more serious moments. She helped our child cope by communicating information at their level of understanding. She included siblings, reaffirming their importance.”

“Our nurse cared for us like we were her family — we are connected in ways that others will never understand. These connections have made lasting imprints that remain forever.”