Rachel Smith, left, with Nancy Smith in 1998.
National Nurses Week 2016 Honors the Important Role of Nurses
N.C. – May 9, 2016 – As a registered nurse on the hematology-oncology unit
at Brenner Children’s Hospital, Rachel Oliver Smith
totally relate to what her young cancer patients are going through.
years ago, she was a cancer patient herself at Brenner Children’s, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center’s pediatric
at age 4 with T-cell lymphoma, a form of blood cancer, Smith received
chemotherapy treatments for two years at Brenner.
a patient, I remember picking toys out of the toy chest in the playroom, Christmas
parties with other kids who were hospitalized and, of course, the medical scans
and chemotherapy,” Smith said. “However, what I remember most about my time as
a patient is the love and positive influence that the nurses gave to my family
now works alongside many of the nurses who once treated her and inspired her to
join their ranks. During this National Nurses Week, Smith credits her former
nurse and current co-worker, Nancy Smith (no relation), with playing a large
role in her wanting to work on the front lines of health care.
watched me grow up and is like family to me,” Rachel Smith said. “Not only did she
help treat my illness, she helped me emotionally. When I look back on my time
as a patient, I’m inspired by the love and care Nancy and so many of the other
nurses gave to me and my family. I’m truly honored to work alongside them.”
Smith, a pediatric nurse for 40 years, said she was thrilled when she learned
that her former patient had accepted a position on the hematology-oncology unit in March of last year.
“Rachel showed such bravery as a patient and now she
gets to help instill that bravery in other young patients as a nurse herself,” Nancy
Smith said. “She has such a commitment and devotion to her patients and their
families. She is one-of-a-kind and our unit is so blessed to have her.”
Rachel Smith, in remission for the past 19 years, still
checks in as a patient at Brenner Children’s every two years for a follow-up
“Brenner Children’s offers former patients the
opportunity to receive their checkups at the children’s hospital — it doesn’t
matter their current age,” she said. “Continuing a relationship with professionals
you’ve known for years certainly adds a sense of comfort and peace to these
Brenner Children’s has been treating children for 30
years as the only full-service pediatric hospital in northwest North
Carolina. Brenner Children’s provides care in more than 30 areas of pediatric