Oncologist Dr. DeLand is saving kids with cancer--and writing children's book in her spare time

Curing cancer is sort of like being president—it’s what we’d all like to add to our bucket list, but only a few actually set out to make it a reality. One of those few is Dr. Maitland DeLand, a radiation oncologist who is using her hobby—writing—to help kids and families better understand what cancer is and how they can beat it. We asked her to give us the 411 on how she makes her career and her passion work together…

All about me

In high school, I was a…good student and was involved in athletics, music and the book club

My first job was…babysitting and I loved it because I could read to children and teach them.

And back then, I thought I wanted to be a teacher or doctor when I grew up.

In college, I… was a biology major with a minor in French. I also tutored in math and French.

And right now, I am a physician and a writer and I love it!

What I do

In a nutshell, my job is to treat woman and children who have a cancer diagnosis. I also write children’s novels.

When I tell people what I do, they think it’s interesting, challenging, and they wonder if I have any free time!

The best part of my day is when I can tell a patient that they are cancer free.

The worst part of my job is dealing with emotionally painful situations, especially children who have been diagnosed with cancer. I have written a series of children’s health books so that I can help patients and their families deal with a difficult medical diagnoses.

When I first got my job, I was surprised that there was a big difference between working in a private practice versus a large institution. I trained at Duke Medical Center.

I got my job by networking and interviewing for a cancer physician position.

My biggest career achievement so far is knowing that I have treated all patients with the best possible care and given them their best chance to beat cancer.

My next career goal is to continue to write books and novels to explain various illnesses and treatments in a way that is easy to understand. By sharing my experience and knowledge, through storytelling, I believe it removes the frightening aspect of a very serious diagnosis.

And how you can do it, too

This job might be right for you if… you feel a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment when you perform your job and look forward to going to work every day.

You might want to try something else if… the career path you chose is not really what you thought it would be. You might be better suited for something else. It is best to give each opportunity a chance but to know when your heart is not on the same path.

The one thing you need to do right now is… have an open mind about all of your possibilities and career choices.

At some point in high school, try to… choose an elective that may be something that you know nothing about, yet it intrigues you. You may just discover that you love it and are good at it!

When you’re thinking about college, consider… the strengths of each school, the sports activities and other special programs that are geared toward your interests.

My best advice for getting a job—any job!—is… to prepare for your interview by researching the company thoroughly, dressing appropriately and answering all questions to the best of your ability. Remember, honesty is key in any position!

Oh, and one more thing…

Please know and consider that choosing a profession is a life choice. Your heart needs to be in it and it needs to be your passion. Also, you need to have hobbies that you are passionate about. For example, my hobby is to write books. One must always follow their dreams and their heart. Whether or not a specific choice turns out exactly as planned, remember, “if at first you don’t succeed try, try again." This should remain your motto throughout your life!

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by Brittany Taylor | 2/1/2016