Nimitha John: The Sacrifices and Rewards of Nursing

Fri May 10th 2024

Starting radiotherapy treatment for cancer can be an anxious time for patients, but ARO nurse, Nimitha John, ensures patients are put at ease through her warmth and kindness. In addition, the specialised oncology knowledge and experience she brings, along with a love of nursing, ensures they receive the very best care.

No doubt Nimitha’s own personal experience has influenced her passion for oncology nursing and added to the empathy she brings to the role. As a young child, Nimitha’s dad was diagnosed with cancer and as part of his treatment he underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. He experienced what a difference it made to have supportive and caring nurses during his treatment, and as a result, encouraged Nimitha towards nursing as a worthy profession. Sadly, Nimitha lost her dad before she finished school, but she pursued a nursing career with the memory of her father in her heart.

On completing her nursing degree, Nimitha worked in hospitals in India for a number of years before moving to New Zealand. Contrasting her experiences between the two countries, she observes significant differences. In India, the work hours were long, and nurses were often required to remain on their feet throughout their shifts without a break. Often in a 12 hour night shift she would work non-stop with no time to even stop for a drink. In comparison, while the work is also very busy in New Zealand, she finds there is more time available to connect with patients on a personal level. This allows her time to ask questions and educate patients on what to expect, which Nimitha finds can make a genuine difference to their care.

While Nimitha has experienced nursing at a number of different oncology centres, both public and private, and found the work highly rewarding, she enjoys some unique aspects of ARO. She finds the discipline of radiation oncology fascinating and loves learning as much as she can. Thanks to the open and sharing culture at ARO, she feels comfortable asking questions to the specialists, radiotherapists and physicists. In fact, it works both ways, with all members of the treatment team reaching out to each other to learn from one another and to make sure the patient receives the best holistic care available. She says “Everyone on the team is always so courteous and helpful, to each other and to the patients and their families. It is a special culture here.”

Nimitha feels passionately about the role of nursing, explaining that no day is ever the same, and so much of what nurses do goes unseen. Nimitha says it takes a special type of person to be a nurse, someone with strong inner empathy, who is prepared to make sacrifices for their work. She often thinks of her own dad as she cares for patients, remembering what a difference nurses made to his care. It is the connection to people and the knowledge that she is helping them that is her reward, making nursing a challenging but fulfilling vocation.

Nimitha John: The Sacrifices and Rewards of Nursing