This Is Not Where I Was Supposed to Be: Journey From a CNO

Published:October 03, 2022DOI:
      Once again, it is a typical Friday evening in January, and I am feverishly working to complete leader evaluations. Finally, it was time to say goodnight, and I walked out of my office toward my car, heading for what I hoped would be a restful weekend and not knowing I was about to be transported to a new experience. After 4 and a half months of visits to a specialist with unexplained diarrhea, perhaps I was about to receive an answer and treatment for my challenge. As I tried to keep busy, not focusing on how I was feeling, I contemplated my plans. The holidays had been hectic, and I was not feeling my best. Then, the phone rang as I was driving home, and my life was about to change forever as I knew it—“Ms. Gonzalez, this is Dr. X, and the results of your contrast CT scan of the abdomen and pelvis just came in. It appears that there is a subtle attenuation noted on the head of the pancreas with mild dilatation of the pancreatic duct.” In other words, there was a tumor sitting on my pancreas, about to challenge me beyond my imagination. After the initial shock, I finally realized the gravity of the new road that was ahead. Feeling numb, I hung up the phone and called my husband, asking him to gather my family at our house that evening as I wanted (and needed) everyone there. The delivery of the news was taxing each time I relayed the possibilities and battle ahead. It was overwhelming for all of us—my husband, my children, my then soon-to-be precious daughter-in-law, my brothers and sisters, my chief executive and chief operating officer, board leadership, senior leaders, medical staff, and a group I also cared about dearly: my team of leaders and colleagues.
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      Jackie Gonzalez, DNP, APRN, MBA, NEA-BC, FAAN, is the former system senior vice president/chief nursing officer & patient safety officer of Nicklaus Children's Hospital in Miami, Florida, and currently volunteers as a patient advisor with the University of Miami Health System/Sylvester Cancer Center in Miami. She can be reached at [email protected] .