I learned how to care for people at an early age. When I was young, my mother had lung cancer, and my father had a stroke.
I was there for the chemotherapy treatments and took my parents to doctors’ appointments. Because I cared for them both for such a long time, I thought nursing was the career for me.
Both of my parents passed away soon after I started college. I had second thoughts on pursuing nursing because I had been a caregiver for most of my childhood. I thought it might be best to give something else a try. But every time I thought about changing my major, somebody always directed me back to nursing. People would tell me I had a caring heart, and that’s what kept me in nursing.
Before coming to St. Jude, I taught nursing. I always told my students that you can’t put a dollar amount on the care you give.
Today, I am a unit coordinator nurse in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at St. Jude. The most rewarding part of my work is collaborating with others.
As a unit coordinator, I serve as a liaison or helper to other nurses. It’s incredible to have the resources I need to focus on patient care and lead my team of nurses.
In addition, I know if I’m not sure how to handle a situation, I work closely with people in other disciplines with whom I can consult.
People might wonder how ICU nurses are able to work with critically ill patients every day. From a clinical standpoint, when it looks like there is nothing else we can do, we still do everything we can.
I’ve seen patients go from a point where we thought they were not going to make it to walking out of our doors healthy. This is what keeps me coming back and why I love the work I do at St. Jude.
Angel Parker, RN, is a nursing unit coordinator in the St. Jude Intensive Care Unit.