Our love for Megan Arriola, a.k.a Mighty Nurse Megan, is as deep as the rabbit hole we’ll go down every time we visit her blog – a delightful and insightful (hello study plans!) voyage into her life as an oncology nurse living in Oregon. Between her work and her writing, she managed to speak with us about her career, this year, and how to make time for self-care.

 

On her serendipitous launch into nursing:

The way I got into nursing is actually quite peculiar. In high school, I was always good at and interested in science. One day I was getting a regular check-up with my family primary care provider and he asked about what my interests were. He suggested since I liked science so much that I should think about a profession in healthcare. I didn’t think much about it at the time. Later that month my school started promoting these extracurricular classes for college course credits, and one of them was a certified nursing program. The rest is sort of history! 

“We are not able to provide adequate care to our patients unless we are taking care of ourselves.”


On why nursing is a great career choice

I feel in love with the actual bedside manner. Plus there are so many different avenues you can take with nursing. You can be at the bedside, in a clinic, in education or management, and even be reps from drug companies or medical supplies just to name a few. It’s pretty hard to be bored, and I am humbled every day by the strength that my patients have. I work directly with cancer patients and am shown every day the value of life and to truly appreciate the small moments.

On coping through the last 10 months:

2020 has been a year for everyone. I am very blessed to work in an outpatient infusion center and not on the frontlines. I cannot imagine the trauma all healthcare providers have seen. For me personally, I enjoy listening to audiobooks on my drive home to really get out of my head if I had a bad day. I also practice self-care by taking relaxing bubble baths and reading non-medical books. I cannot recommend self-care enough to my co-workers and fellow providers. We are not able to provide adequate care to our patients unless we are taking care of ourselves like getting enough sleep and drinking water! 

“ I am just so thankful that [my patients] have allowed me to care for them.”  


On the relationships that make nursing so special

I have a lot of special moments throughout my career thus far, but what’s special to me may not be uplifting for everyone: My nursing career has, and probably always will be, with cancer patients, and I have had the amazing opportunity to be present with patients during their last chemo days as well as their last breaths. I have a memory box in my closet filled with thank you cards from patients and photos that I might have taken with them. I also have one scrub top that I wear that my patient gifted me. I am just so thankful that they have allowed me to care for them.  

I also recently started as a clinical instructor to second-year nursing students, and it is so wonderful to see them make connections between symptoms and diagnoses, as well as the celebrations we get to have when they learn a new skill such as placing an IV or foley. Those moments are equally special. 

“ I am just so thankful that [my patients] have allowed me to care for them.”

 

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