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Nurses Month: What Inspired You To Become a Nurse?

June 02, 2022

As Nurses Month concludes, we spoke with two Texas Oncology nurses from different generations and backgrounds about what called them to the profession of oncology nursing specializing in cancer care.

Dianne Gorostiza
Texas Oncology- San Antonio Westover Hills

Shelby Nichols
Texas Oncology - Plano East

Dianne Gorostiza, RN, BSN, MSHSPH, OCN, at Texas Oncology– San Antonio Westover Hills, and Shelby Nichols, RN, at Texas Oncology–Plano East, share valuable lessons they have learned and why they joined Texas Oncology.

1) Did you always know you wanted to be a nurse, specifically specializing in cancer care? What inspired you to become a nurse?

Dianne: I graduated college with a degree in geography but felt like it wasn’t what I was meant to do. I remember going to an interview and being asked “where do you see yourself in five years” and knew right then I wanted to be a nurse – despite not knowing anyone in the field. I went back to school, but needed a way to finance it, so I joined the Air Force. While in the military, my cousin passed away from leukemia. After seeing how much it affected my family, I was inspired to become an oncology nurse and make a difference in people’s lives.

Shelby: My great grandmother was a nurse and would always tell me stories about her job and how much she loved it. Her career inspired me to become a nurse. Cancer also runs in my family, and watching my family members tackle cancer empowered me to specialize in cancer care. I started my residency on a medical surgical oncology floor and fell in love with caring for cancer patients. They are some of the most appreciative, kind, and patient people out there, and I am beyond grateful to get to know every one of them.

2) What is the most valuable lesson you have learned in your career to-date?

Dianne: Developing relationships with your patients can have a profound effect on their attitude and experience when going through cancer treatment. Cancer patients need support and encouragement, and as a nurse it’s important to listen to their concerns, value their feelings, and provide them with all the information they need to make decisions about their future. Also, you never stop learning as a nurse, there will always be something more to learn.

Shelby: Asking someone who they are. My patients are going through a journey that is difficult on its own, while also navigating everyday life too. They are battling cancer and all of life’s curve balls. I always take the time to sit down next to my patients and really ask them, “how are you?” It is so powerful. I also personally try to get to know each and every one of my patients and assure them I am fully invested in their journey and here for them no matter what the case may be.

3) Do you have a favorite memory, or shared experience, that has touched you as a nurse working with cancer patients?

Dianne: When I was at an Air Force unit on base, I worked with children, and we’d have “hero parties” for them as they completed their chemotherapy. They’d invite their loved ones, and we’d have food, music, small gifts, and present each patient with a “hero” medal to wear around their neck. It was a special moment in my career.

Shelby: I have so many! My favorite memory was when my coworker and friend completed her course of chemotherapy treatment and got to ring the bell. It was beautiful to witness her entire journey and see the love she felt from everyone around in that moment. It is such a joy to see my patients and their families celebrate an incredible milestone in an individual’s cancer journey.

4) What inspired you to become a part of the Texas Oncology community?

Dianne: Initially, I joined as a nurse research coordinator, and found I enjoyed “hands on” nursing more. So, I moved to an infusion nurse position and have been in this role for five and a half years. The Texas Oncology community is very supportive and resourceful. I have enjoyed every day working here with such an incredible staff and patients.

Shelby: My grandmother had lung cancer and continuously told me how wonderful her experience was with the nurses who cared for her and how easy they made it. It inspired me to be that person who made someone’s cancer journey easier. Even with no experience, I took a leap of faith and joined Texas Oncology, and it was the best decision I could have ever made.

5) What advice would you give someone who is aspiring to become a nurse?

Dianne: If you want to be a nurse, do it. It’s such a rewarding career and there are many different specialties you can pursue. I recommend spending your first few years at a hospital to obtain the skills that lay the foundation for the rest of your career.

Shelby: Take the time to get to know your patients, and show them you care. Nursing is a fast-paced and busy profession, but taking even a few minutes of your time to get to know your patients will allow you to build strong and supportive relationships with them throughout their journey.

Thank you to our nurses for your dedication, courage, expertise, and sacrifice – we see you and stand in awe of the work you do for our patients and for all of the Texas Oncology family.

For upcoming webinars visit www.TexasOncologyFoundation.org.