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David Bynum | Nurses Week | University of Rochester School of Nursing

  By By David Bynum, RN, ’15N
  Friday, May 5, 2017

David Bynum

Four years ago, I was at a crossroads. I had just gone through a divorce and been laid off from work, and I wasn’t sure what was next.

Then, I was involved in a serious car accident and was rushed to the hospital. After a series of tests, the doctors told me that in addition to my injuries from the accident, I had kidney cancer. I wasn’t experiencing any symptoms, so I was lucky that it was caught early. I remember my doctors told me the car accident wasn’t a “blessing in disguise” — it was simply a blessing.

I came back to my hometown of Rochester to recover from my accident, and I ended up spending a couple weeks at Strong Memorial Hospital due to complications. After I was healed and able to walk again, I returned to North Carolina for my cancer surgery. Thankfully, because the cancer was caught early, I didn’t need chemotherapy or radiation.

During my time in and out of the hospital, without realizing it, I was interviewing my nurses about their jobs. I’d ask them how they enjoyed being a nurse, and each and every one of them said, “I love it” without hesitating.

After I recovered from the surgery, I began to think seriously about my future. At one point, I was talking with one of my friends, who asked me, “If you could do anything in the world that you wanted to do, what would you pick?” Instead of just saying “a billionaire,” I took his question seriously, and thought about what I value most in life: relationships, family, and empathy. I thought about the relationships I had with my own nurses when I was in the hospital, and I told him, “I’d want to be a nurse.”

But I didn’t think that becoming a nurse was a real possibility. I told my friend that I was too old, I didn’t have the necessary prerequisites, and it was just too late. But he encouraged me to think about the process step-by-step, and I began to consider that going back to school and becoming a nurse was a real possibility.

I researched nursing schools and found the Accelerated Bachelor’s Program for Non-Nurses at the University of Rochester’s School of Nursing. The program seemed made for me. It was fast-paced, I could graduate from the program in less than a year, and I was able to complete the prerequisites online. It was the only school I applied to, and not only was I accepted, I received scholarships, which helped me a great deal.

Before I graduated, I accepted a job at the Wilmot Cancer Institute, on their blood and marrow transplant floor, and I started there last year.

The relationship I have with my patients is what I treasure about my job. It’s the little things — taking that extra minute to talk with someone, washing someone’s face for them, making them more comfortable in their bed. You’re meeting people on some of the worst days of their lives, and you’re letting them know that you’re there for them.

Just recently, I had a patient who had recently relapsed, and he doesn’t have a good prognosis. When I was in his room, he told me a personal story, and we shared a real connection. It meant so much to me that I was able to be there to support him and his family. It’s moments like those that remind me: nursing is a good career, but it’s so much more than that, it’s a privilege.

David's story was shared with the UR School of Nursing as part of National Nurses Week.

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