National Nurses Week: An Aggie-grad nurse says each day 'is a journey’ with patients

Mason Hatch, Nurse, G10 (MD Anderson)

HOUSTON – KPRC 2 appreciates nurses and all the work they do. In honor of National Nurses Week, here is one nurse who is keeping Houston healthy.

Mason Hatch, BSN, RN, CCRN is an inpatient Nursing Resource Pool clinical nurse at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

How long have you been a nurse?

I have been a nurse for almost three years. I am a fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of 2017. I started here at MD Anderson as a new graduate nurse.

I completed the graduate nurse residency program at MD Anderson and worked in the ICU until November 2019. I took a small journey in my career to another institution, but quickly realized MD Anderson was my home and returned to work at MD Anderson in January 2020 as an inpatient NRP nurse.

What’s the biggest reason why you became a nurse and why?

My decision to become a nurse was multifactorial. Growing up I was considered by many to be “soft” and overly “affectionate.” I was always the first person to welcome new students, help when nobody else would, and be an ear to listen when friends were going through a hard time.

Growing up, I spent a great deal of time in the medical center as a patient myself. Challenged with genetic and physical disorders, I was surrounded by wonderful nurses here in the TMC. I believe that becoming a nurse was imprinted upon me from a young age.

Nursing is the heart, the soul, and the understanding that the person you are assigned to care for is someone’s father, mother, brother, or sister. As nurses, we get to go on a journey each and every day with our patients. Whether it is a patient who has finally beat cancer and gets to ring the bell, or a wife and mother who cries out as she says goodbye to her husband, a nurse is right there by their side. For these reasons and many others, I am beyond proud to be a nurse and am so thankful that I get to be a small light in what is usually a very dark time in people’s lives.

Who inspired you to become a nurse and why?

The most influential people in my life who led me to choose nursing as a profession were my nurses growing up and my brother.

I was able to watch my older brother experience the wonderful and trying experience of nursing school long before I even decided to become a nurse. I remember him telling us stories during the holidays when he would return home from nursing school.

These stories and the passion that he expressed for the profession early on in his career guided me in my decision to pursue nursing.

What do you think when people call nurses heroes?

I believe they are absolutely right. Not all superheroes wear capes; some wear scrubs. In this challenging time with COVID-19, our world has been turned upside down.

People have to learn and adapt to constant changes and challenges they never knew were coming. Nurses do this daily. Nurses sacrifice so much of themselves to selflessly treat and care for our patients.

Words cannot describe the unique experience each nurse encounters day to day, shift to shift, and patient to patient. Everyone’s journey is different. One thing remains the same, however: we are nurses and we will always be there when we are called upon.

Have you been working with patients who have been diagnosed with coronavirus? If so, what’s the most challenging part of caring for people in this situation?

The most challenging part of working with COVID-19 positive patients, and even patients who haven’t tested positive but are in the hospital, is how isolating it can feel to these patients.

With social distancing and precautions to protect these patients, most of them do not have visitors. As nurses, we rise together to let them know we care. We rise and show up every day. It is what we have trained to do, and it is what we love to do.

What do you think you will remember most about the coronavirus pandemic?

I believe this pandemic has taught me and many others around the world that we are all more similar than different. Regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, culture, nationality, or religion, we all face the humbling realization that this virus does not discriminate. For that reason, we are required to unite for the common good for all. I hope this lesson transcends this pandemic.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

The most rewarding part of my job is getting to see the smiles on my patients’ faces when they have reached a milestone they have been trying to attain, whether that is complete remission of their cancer or just simply transferring to a lower level of care.

What would you be doing if you weren’t in the medical field?

It’s hard to imagine not working in the medical field, but if I had to choose another role, I would be an educator. I get so much joy when I get to impart my knowledge to another person.

Getting to share my passion for science and nursing with others and to see that same passion in their eyes makes me so excited for the future of nursing and the exciting journeys each of them are embarking on.

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