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A Career, a Calling, and a Home at Texas Oncology–Longview: Kristy Haden, RN, OCN

May 21, 2019

In recognition of Oncology Nursing Month, Kristy Haden, RN, OCN, of Texas Oncology–Longview discusses how she found her career path and her home at Texas Oncology.

How did you choose your career path?

Throughout high school all I desired was to become a veterinarian. At the age 15, I began volunteering at a local veterinarian hospital, where my love for caring for animals grew. After eight years as a veterinarian technician, I left what I knew to pursue my career in nursing. During my first semester of nursing school, my family and I learned that my grandmother – who had lived with us since before I was born – had stage IV liver cancer. I helped care for her until just days into my second semester of nursing school, when she passed away. I was privileged to be with her in her last moments, and from that point I never questioned my future as an aspiring oncology or hospice nurse. 

When did you join Texas Oncology?

I have been an oncology nurse for almost 13 years. I joined Texas Oncology–Longview two-and-a-half years ago this month. I continue to love helping patients and their family members daily.

What is the most fulfilling part of your job as an oncology nurse?

Being told "thank you" by patients and their families. Whether it’s listening to them, helping them manage treatment-related symptoms or a pain crisis, or reassuring them that they didn’t let cancer win – even when you’re encouraging them that it’s time for hospice.

What do you learn from your patients and colleagues each day?

It’s good medicine to laugh and joke around with each other. Laughing and joking with patients and families lets them know it’s okay to have a little fun every once and a while – it reminds them to smile. I’ve also learned that being humble is a good quality to have, and it’s important to stay kind.

What is the best piece of advice you can offer to those who are newly diagnosed or going through treatment?

Stay strong, keep fighting, and take it one day at a time. It's easy for all of us going through difficult times in our lives to lose sight of the things that have grounded us and that have made us who we are. It’s important to remember that God has a plan, it may not be the plan you had for yourself, but He has a plan for each of us. God is not going to give you more than he knows that you can overcome, so it's important to stay true to yourself, love your family, and know that God will see you through.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.