Bethany Smyth is a pediatric oncology nurse at Brooke Army Medical Center who is dedicated to her patients and their families. Bethany has been a nurse for 8 years, and can’t imagine doing anything else. She is a long time CureSearch supporter, completing the 2012 Texas Hill Country Ultimate Hike and participating in the San Antonio CureSearch Walk. CureSearch recently caught up with Bethany to ask her about life as a nurse.
Q: What motivated you to become a nurse?
A: My mom was a nurse, and growing up, I always knew that nursing was what I wanted to do. Eight years ago, I started working on the adult transplant floor, but I always wanted to work in pediatrics. When I transferred hospitals, I was able to work with children in intermediate care, but was looking for something different. I decided to take a position at Brooke Army Medical Center, where I was given the opportunity to work in pediatric oncology. Once I started working there, I knew that working with these patients was what I was meant to do.
Q: What is your favorite part about being a nurse?
A: I can’t imagine doing anything else. I work in a small unit, so I get to know all of our patients. I love getting to take care of the entire family, not just the child going through treatment. When you’re in pediatric nursing, you’re not just focused on the child; you get to deal with so many different aspects of the treatment.
The children that we treat at our hospital are so resilient; they always have a smile on their face, no matter what they are going through. I love that I get to be a kid with the patients; I will do anything to make them smile. I also love how far treatment has come since I became a nurse. It’s also so exciting when I have the opportunity to celebrate major milestones with patients, and see them move on to the next part of their lives.
Q: What is an average day like?
A: Typically there are two to three patients who are receiving chemotherapy at our hospital. We get a large variety of cancer types, and work together as a team to provide the best possible care. Not all of the children that we care for are oncology patients, so we offer many different types of care throughout the day. Each day is different than the last, which makes this job challenging and exciting.