This week’s Homegrown Hero is Joanne Esposito, registered nurse at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. This past week we caught up with her to know more about her story, and what she has experienced since the pandemic started. We thank Joanne for all her efforts and for inspiring our club with her acts.
Tell me about your career and what inspires you every day?
I have been a registered nurse for 35 years, and 33 of those years have been at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital at Hackensack University Medical Center. My patients are truly an inspiration each and every day. They go through so much over the course of their treatment, yet they always come out smiling, playful and willing to have fun. I am always inspired by their strength, determination, and overall feistiness in their daily battles! If there is one thing to learn is not to take anything for granted, live in the moment, enjoy life and have fun! I absolutely love my job, the people I work with and the families I care for.
How much have your job duties changed since the pandemic started?
My job duties have not changed much during the pandemic as our patients still need to receive their treatment protocols. What is different is now they can only come to the clinic with one parent and no friends or siblings. Our playroom and teen lounge must remain closed at the moment to maintain social distancing protocols, and this has been very difficult on children who have already been isolated due to their illness.
What’s the biggest lesson/s you’ve learned during this time period?
Over the years what I have learned as a pediatric oncology nurse is not to sweat the small stuff. Life is too short! Enjoy each moment, be thankful each and every day, hug your loved ones and enjoy the time you have together. Be mindful of others, never judge: you do not know what someone is going through behind closed doors. Be kind.