Katherine Chang always knew she wanted to work in pediatrics. Growing up, she watched and learned from her mom’s involvement with non-profit organizations that helped families with kids with special needs. She imagined a career as a nurse.
Chang first worked at Children’s National Hospital as a summer intern as a nursing student. “Working in the hematology and oncology unit was my top choice,” she says. “When my grandma had stage four lung cancer, she always said it was the kindness of the nurses that got her through. I wanted to do that for kids.”
“Nurse Kat,” as many kids and families call her, joined our Cancer and Blood Disorders Center after graduating nursing school. She creates comfortable environments in the hospital to help her patients feel safe. She once helped Kai, age 5, get over his fear of sticky bandages by putting one on herself and letting him pull it off. To help Kai feel better about taking so much medication early on in his treatment for leukemia, she suggested they mix the liquid with his favorite drink, chocolate milk. He could decide how much. “It became a game,” she says.
“The kids and their families in our hematology and oncology unit are strong and resilient,” she says. “We see them at some of the hardest times of their lives. I try to shine a little light. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
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