Helping children beat brain cancer: Why I love my job

I have been working as a pediatric nurse for over 25 years and have done a variety of jobs. I recently started working in the MACC Fund Center, caring for children who have been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

These children have complex needs and often require a variety of specialists to help care for them. I love the fact that I work with a team of people who look out for the best interests of these very special kids and their families. Working with this multidisciplinary team also allows me to learn something new every day, beyond oncology nursing.

The team here at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin has been a joy to work with. I thought it might be challenging to help coordinate care for families with complicated needs, but I’ve really been surprised. All over our hospital, the staff goes out of their way to help make each moment in time better for the child and family.

I cannot imagine what it must be like to be told your child has a brain tumor. I see how devastating it is for families, and I know they feel overwhelmed. I like to meet a family from the very beginning, because then we can figure out together how to help their child beat this diagnosis. Part of my job is to try and help them feel a little normal in a world that suddenly has become so abnormal. I try to help make their lives better, even in small ways — like being a familiar face in an unfamiliar environment.

My job is great. There are days it makes me sad and may bring tears to my eyes, but more often than not, my job makes me laugh. The children are resilient, courageous and make me smile every day. They are able to look at each day as a new day, something we so often forget. When people ask me how can I do my job, I respond using the words of an oncologist I met early in my career: “Children are going to get brain tumors, and if I can make their lives even a little bit better in some way, it has been a good day.”

Mark your calendar

I invite you to tune in to the Dave & Carole Miracle Marathon this Thursday morning and listen to Caleb and his family discuss their experience at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin fighting a rare form of brain cancer. Your donation during this 36-hour radiothon can make a real difference in the life a child.

Julie Bender, RN~ Julie Bender, RN, Brain Tumor Clinic, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin

The Brain Tumor Clinic at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin provides a multidisciplinary approach at the time of diagnosis, during treatment and in long-term follow-up. A team approach is utilized to define the best treatment for each child.

Comments are closed.