|Rebecca Andrade-Espinoza (Photo by p.cunningham)|
May 6 through 12 is National Nurses Week. As part of this recognition, Hope News asked three City of Hope nurses what their own personal connections to cancer bring to their work.
Rebecca Andrade-Espinoza, R.N.
Patient Care Assistant I
Hematology – 5 East
Even before I went to nursing school, City of Hope was where I wanted to work.
My mom, who was treated at City of Hope, passed away from cancer. My dad was always by her side, and the nurses really took great care of both of them. Seeing that, I felt like that’s what I wanted to do — to take care of somebody else’s family like they took care of mine.
Working with patients is the most rewarding part. They’re so grateful for the little things — whether it’s bringing them a warm blanket or changing their linens. Sometimes they apologize that I have to do things for them, but I look at it like this: “Right now you’re sick. Let me take care of you. And when you’re feeling better, you can do this on your own.” And I’m just happy that I can do it for them.
Michelle Leon, M.S., N.P., R.N.
|Michelle Leon (Photo by Wayne Lewis)|
Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation
Working at City of Hope is a sort of family tradition for me. My mother and aunt both worked here, and I’ve been volunteering or working at City of Hope on and off since I was in high school.
Things changed when someone who was very close to me passed away despite the best efforts of the medical staff here. It was very difficult, and I didn’t know whether I could return to City of Hope.
But family members convinced me that this is where I needed to be. All the nurses and managers were very supportive, letting me have as much time as I needed to deal with it. It’s like a family here at City of Hope, and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Now, looking back, I feel like that experience helps me understand my patients and their families a lot better. It just gives me a different perspective on things. What I went through motivates me to learn more so I can help my patients more.
Melanie Rhodes, R.N.
|Melanie Rhodes (Photo by p.cunningham)|
Clinical Nurse II
Medical Oncology/Outpatient Infusion
For me, working at City of Hope is a way of paying it forward.
My grandmother Ada Jean Rhodes, who died in 2004, received treatment for thyroid cancer here. She really loved City of Hope. She was happy to come to a place where she would see smiling faces and people who were happy to be doing their jobs. That makes a difference for the patients. Another relative of mine beat cancer thanks to therapy at City of Hope, and remains in remission to this day.
They both actually had wonderful experiences here, and I see my role as giving back a wonderful experience for patients who were just as sick as they were. Even when circumstances are very severe, people still feel uplifted by this place.
In the long run, I think I was always supposed to be here. I feel like I’ve found my niche.