Nurse talks to Niko at The RoadMinders Podcast
Summer Xia works in the Health Care Industry with oncology patients. In this interview, Summer explains that nursing is a cross combination of medical knowledge and personal care for the patients. In these difficult days of the COVID pandemic, nursing has additional challenges but Summer faces them all with a clear and happy disposition.
Niko: I have found that, when I’m in hospital, some nurses are really good at finding the actual vein to put it, but some of them just kept pricking and pricking. What’s the trick to that, Summer?
Summer: The trick, maybe we can use a heat pack.
Summer: Heat pack, yeah, and make the tourniquet a bit tighter, now we can see more. And also, like you as a patient, you drink a lot of fluids so the vein gets pumped.
Niko: Yeah, that true. They say that all the time about fluids and your veins. If you don’t have enough fluids in the veins, then you don’t see the veins so well. Is that correct?
Summer: Yeah, otherwise the vein is very flat.
Niko: And it’s hard to find, I suppose, and hard to–
Summer: Yes, so they are underneath the skin; you can’t really see.
Niko: Again with day-oncology, I mean, I find that would be so challenging, especially with the patients. Because some of them, I mean, it’s hard to say to someone, “Hey, you’ve got cancer or you’ve got a condition that is really serious,” and they’ve got to go through this treatment with the hope and prayer that they’re going to get better. How are the patients, how do you the patients feel? I mean, you’re going to have different types of patients always, but how are they in general?
Summer: They are worried and they are frustrated. So they are worried because, you know some people will say “I’m always healthy. How would I get a bowel cancer? That just doesn’t make sense.” Always eat healthy, you know, doing fitness. It just doesn’t click in their mind. And some people, they have had cancer in the past and they come back again, yeah, frustrated. So they are doing the right things, but you know the body just doesn’t take it. It is hard, emotionally very stressful. But most of the patients, they have very supportive families and friends they can talk to. And also in the hospital, if they have issues we can refer to maybe a dietician or a social worker to talk to them and to help them with any issues they have.
Niko: And how about yourself as a nurse? I mean, I suppose as a nurse because you’re hands on with this patient sometimes, and sometimes you get to know them quite well, obviously. How does that affect you personally and other nurses? How do you feel? Do some get really emotionally upset with things like that or do they try to distance themselves from it? How do you cope with it Summer?
Summer: I feel okay at the moment because I’m just stepping into the chemotherapy and treat the patients, cancer patients. So you talk to them, and most of them, they are quite happy to tell about their stories and to share about their feelings. We do feel like it’s really very stressful at the moment, especially with the COVID every day. It’s hard for them to get help, and I hard for them to see their families to express their emotions and the, we are there when they come here for the treatment and they can talk to us. And of course, we accept all the different emotions; happy or sad or frustration or, you know, that kind of thing. It’s kind of like a professional job; it’s our job so we guide them, we reassure them. To us, we are okay, we are not that emotionally affected and we understand the condition, the disease, the treatment, like the whole lot, the combination. So, we can I think, can express ourselves quite, quite well. I’m not going to be stressed about just talking to them and overwhelming, so you try to meet their needs; that’s the most, most important part.
Niko: Yeah. And in your opinion, Summer, what does it take to become a good nurse or, I mean, what would you classify as a good nurse? I mean, you did just describe what you need to do; so would you say that would be the way a good nurse would be?
Summer: Yes. Of course, you need good skills and good knowledge and then, plus compression. So, understanding patients and what they need; I think that makes a whole nurse.
Niko: And with their needs sometimes Summer, is it just looking at the medical needs or– so you actually sort of would go to them and talk to them a little bit, get to know them a little bit, see how they’re doing and so forth. Because when you’re giving that they’re meant to be very intrusive, those medications aren’t they? So if it’s for cancer, if it’s chemical therapy, radiation; does that hurt the patient?
Summer: They will have a lot of side effects after that.
Summer: So for example, maybe fatigue and diarrhea; that’s very common, and we just need to tell them, “Okay, just have a rest for the first few days after the chemotherapy and try not to do too much. And if you have family members ask them to help you out. And like, take some medications for your nausea or diarrhea if needed, but if you do have very bad issues, you have to contact your doctor.” So, we explained to them and they’ll just try to understand from their perspective as well. So if they have any questions they can ask us, they can call us all the time, and we’re happy to take their calls and answer their questions.
Niko: How have you had a real great success story through being a nurse? Like something that you felt like; that made me feels so good. Do you get that often or do you get that just now and occasionally, or is it a general thing that you feel every day whenever you go in?
Summer: We actually receive a lot of cards and chocolates from patients, actually a lot; a lot all the time. And they all say that like as a team, and we worked together and we always give them the best treatment and tender loving care as well. So, they are very grateful for coming to our unit actually.
Niko: That’s so interesting actually.
Summer: And then, we are always happy to see their treatment is finished, they are cancer free and they don’t need to come here anymore. That’s really a blessing. But if they do come back for some reason, well, we still care for them because they are really needed in their special care.
Niko: So you said about medications, new treatments in that; are there other technologies that they’re using now, in particularly in dye-oncology, which they’re using now to help patients? Like, other special machines or special equipment that they’re using now, which is actually helping people more or it just the medications mainly?
Summer: I think just the medications, so new medications or the combination of different medications. The technology maybe will be before the diagnosis. So they maybe–