I work with super heroes. Every day, they fight for their patients so they can fight cancer. As we pause to reflect on life’s blessings, let’s add nurses and healthcare teams, my super heroes, to the list of things for which to be thankful.

Super heroes, nurses and healthcare teams share several common traits.

THEY ARE EASILY IDENTIFIED. Healthcare teams are the ones helping their patients overcome obstacles, big and small.

THEY LEAD DUAL LIVES. Members of the healthcare team are mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, and other people’s children. They have the same life stressors as everyone else. Somehow, though, they are adept at leaving their problems at the door and adopting their alter egos, enabling them to focus on their patients. It is only when their work is done that they quietly slip back into their personal lives.

THEY GIVE UNSELFISHLY. This trait is even more amazing when you consider much of the work is often thankless. I’ve seen nurses stay late to ensure a patient’s nausea medication is working and use a smaller needle on very fragile veins to minimize pain. They give patients and families a shoulder to cry on, celebrate completion of treatment and provide encouragement at the moment it is needed most. And they ask for nothing in return.

THEY FIGHT FOR THE UNDERDOG. Battling evil, in this case cancer, typically involves treatments that leave patients in weakened and vulnerable states. Our healthcare teams are some of the strongest advocates a patient has and are always looking for a way to make life a little better. They may care for a patient for only a short while, but their impact can last a lifetime.

THEY HAVE A CALLING. Oncology nursing is not a profession for the faint of heart. People who enter healthcare do so because of a desire to help people. Many knew they wanted to be a nurse from a very early age and never considered another option.

THEY ARE INDISPENSABLE. I challenge anyone to overcome any health challenge without a great nurse and healthcare team. Trust me; it is extremely difficult. In the fight against cancer, they are essential.

This year, more than 119,000 Texans will be diagnosed with cancer. While their treatment plans will be as diverse as our state, they will all have super heroes fighting for them. For more than 25 years, the outstanding nurses and healthcare teams of Texas Oncology have provided leading-edge cancer treatments to patients in their communities, enabling them to stay close to the critical support of their family and friends.

Texas Oncology practices throughout Texas and southeastern Oklahoma are celebrating the impact of oncology nurses and healthcare teams this Thanksgiving season. I invite you to share your #SuperThanks and personal stories of our unsung super heroes at www.Facebook.com/TexasOncology.

By Dr. Rogelio Salinas