A personal experience led Jennifer Weaver, RN, BSN, to choose to care for children dealing with cancer. Currently the Pediatric Neuro-Oncology/Survivorship/Retinoblastoma Specialty Care Coordinator, she reflects on her three decades at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital and shares what motivates her in this special, but difficult role.
I am a current specialty care coordinator in pediatric hematology-oncology for neuro-oncology, retinoblastoma, and survivorship. I have been an RN at Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital for 31 years and have always worked with the pediatric cancer population. After having lost a brother to leukemia at the age of four, I KNEW that I wanted to work with these children. I worked as an inpatient pediatric nurse for 17 years before moving to the outpatient hematology-oncology department full time.
I started the pediatric survivorship program with Dr. Seth Rotz roughly three years ago and that continues to grow as more and more cancer survivors find information about our program. My care coordinator role in helping cancer survivors bring happiness to a population of children and young adults as well as their families, that have survived a traumatic time in their lives. Having gone through cancer treatment can lead to long lasting “late term effects,” and my role is to help guide them and teach them about those issues. I encourage them and empower them to continue to take ownership in their own health.
How do I keep my passion and enthusiasm for nursing alive after 31 years? I consider it an honor and a privilege to take care of children and young adults during their most stressful of times. When they are most vulnerable, it is my responsibility to provide the education, knowledge, and support to them and their families. When a “thank you for everything” is shared with me following or during treatment, I know I have done the best that I could do, and that is all the motivation I need. It’s amazing what you can learn as a human being from some of these kids. Their strength and determination have at times made me speechless. I have the best job in the world!
Learn to appreciate and take advantage of the impact you have on people. A nurse can make a difference in people’s lives…and I NEVER take that for granted.