Pinky Rose Aluben, an oncology infusion nurse with the George Washington University (GW) Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) Department of Medicine, has seen the highs and lows of cancer care, but she has never wavered in providing both levity and warmth to patients and their families. Her nursing role has given her perspective on life; even when the work is challenging, she remains steadfast in her optimism. Here, she talks about her dedication to her patients, the lessons she’s learned, and the power of caring.
Q. What is your role at GW, and what does it entail?
Aluben: I have been working for the GW MFA for almost 11 years now. I am an oncology infusion nurse. I help provide safe, quality care for our cancer patients as well as our patients from different medical departments (gastroenterology, neurology, rheumatology, and more). Part of my job is to collaborate with the different teams and departments to help and assist with our patients and their families’ needs. So, I make sure I have a good relationship with everyone.
Q. How did you get started at GW?
Aluben: I started working at GW Hospital in medical oncology in August of 2009. I had heard from my previous supervisor at GW Hospital that the GW MFA was hiring. She applied, and so did I. I transitioned to the GW MFA in September 2010, and I’m still here now.
Q. Is there a moment or experience you’re particularly proud of?
Aluben: My 11 years working at the GW MFA have been very rewarding. I have grown to be a better person and a better nurse, which helps me a lot in caring for our clients, including patients, families, co-employees, and different departments.
It was few years ago when three out of six infusion nurses left around the same time. I was one of the ones left to serve our clients. Hand in hand, we thrived.
I am happy that I’ve been given an opportunity to provide good care to our patients and their families. I make sure my patients get a time of fun and happy moments during their treatment. My goal is to momentarily ease a little of their hardships, pain, and suffering — patients and families all together. However, it is very hard and sad when patients finally succumb to the Big C.
Q. What advice do you have for those wanting to follow your career path?
Aluben: It’s a big challenge to deal with people, but any situation gets easier if you work with good people and with love and respect. It’s a blessing indeed. Be a team player. Live and enjoy life to the fullest. Be a blessing to everyone. A smile makes a lot of difference. Make time and listen.
Q. What excites or inspires you the most about being a nurse?
Aluben: I love my job. I love being a nurse. My patients are my inspiration. I have seen pain and suffering on so many levels, but when they are still smiling and can say “Life is good,” then I have no right to complain about life at all. It’s satisfying to share goodness and laughter during the most difficult times. I’m always happy to make everyone smile.