I've worked at a lot of places in my lifetime. My first paying job was babysitting as soon as I turned 12. After that I worked light housecleaning at 15 and summers through high school at Blue Cross and Blue Shield. When I finished college I bounced around through several companies and positions. My husband on the other hand has had two employers his whole life. I guess I'm an idealist, believing there's always something else that will fit me better.
After college I'd left a career as a clinical dietitian to explore publishing for almost 10 years. I was working at a medical journal with great coworkers and benefits when I realized that I still wasn't happy. I really really missed helping people directly. When I interviewed for a position at a Dana-Farber satellite, I knew my chances were slim since I'd been out of the field for so long. My current boss who did the interview believed in me but there were doubts by other managers involved. I wasn't the top choice and had to wait for other candidates to fall away before the job was finally offered to me months later.
It sounds like a cliché but I believe that what's meant to be eventually happens. I was scared to death to return to a clinical setting where in the past I'd encountered some difficult staff who didn't respect dietitians. But I'd always wanted to be involved with cancer patients at Dana-Farber, and even if I didn't get the job I was considering volunteering there. My experience at Dana-Farber for the past four years has been the utmost best of my life. I've never met an entire team of people so compassionate, kind and selfless. The patients' care, comfort and high level of treatment are the main focus of every staff member; even the volunteers and housecleaning team go the extra mile to serve the patients. I've never seen communication so tight among providers, nurses and support staff (providers have chatted by email late night discussing very ill patients). I educated and counseled patients but also developed relationships as I walked through their treatment with them.
In July our entire staff was summoned for a meeting and we were told that our satellite was closing end of the year. The breathtaking new multimillion-dollar Yawkey Center unveiled at the downtown Dana-Farber site in 2011 had not filled to capacity, and our satellite that was initially built to receive the overflow of patients from the main campus was simply no longer needed. It has been a very difficult past few months as staff have scrambled to find new jobs (thankfully most have so far) and for remaining staff to continue to care for longtime patients who refuse to leave our site until the doors shut for the last time. It has been most difficult to fathom that this team, this family, will no longer be.
I initially planned to take one or two group photos as a momento, but it turned into much more as I realized that all the treasure of this special clinic held endless memories, more than I could fit into this video. We are officially slated to close on January 31, 2014.