Photo: Carolyn Jones, courtesy of The American Nurse Project
Children's National Medical Center, Washington, DC
Jessica Graef is a staff nurse on the hematology/oncology unit, which provides treatment for children with cancer and blood disorders.
"What I've learned ... through this job is the strength of families. I thought I'd see people just losing it, but these families are tremendously strong...They are there for their children, and pull from their inner strength to cope and to help their children. I've learned so much about myself from seeing how other people interact, how they deal with things like this, and how they are able to come up with compassion in the most horrendous situations. I always try and have a sense of hope, because without that, what do you have? Some people think that pediatric oncology nurses are angels or saints, but I have to say that I have learned and gained from my patients and their families just as much as I have given to them."
The American Nurse Project, which includes a large-format book as well as a documentary forthcoming in 2014, was made possible with the support of Fresenius Kabi USA. Life-affirming stories like these are being continuously added to the project's web site, americannurseproject.com.
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