With her special calling to work with oncology patients, leukemia nurse practitioner Kristie Szymanski, MSN, AGNP-C, OCN, explains how she melds science and compassion to support patients at their most vulnerable times.
My passion and enthusiasm for nursing is kept alive through my everyday encounters with my patients and colleagues. It is truly an honor to serve my patients, especially when they are at their most vulnerable, and to remain working among the brightest minds at Cleveland Clinic, which I have been incredibly proud to call my work home for the past 10 years. I firmly believe that nursing involves lifelong learning - not only involving how we treat others in a medical sense but also on a compassionate level. It involves both the science and the art of practice, which to me is the best of both worlds.
My personal interest lies in translating knowledge of hematologic malignancies into practice and watching how doing so can positively impact my patients. I have always been drawn to oncology despite nursing being a second career for me - I first studied chemistry with the hope of developing oncologic drug therapies as a medicinal chemist. However, I found that I wanted something more, a career more closely involved with people while remaining true to my degree field and core interest of helping others. As a leukemia nurse practitioner, I feel that I am able to incorporate my love of the sciences and passion for oncology with that of clinical patient care to help drive patient outcomes with the hope of positively affecting their quality of life.
It is so exciting to know that each day brings something different--fresh opportunities to learn, grow, and apply new knowledge with the ultimate hope of benefiting my patients and colleagues. This is something that will always motivate me to strive to be better. I feel as though I am finally where I am meant to be career-wise, which is a very humbling yet exhilarating feeling.