Hester Hill Schnipper, LICSW, OSW-C Program Manager, Oncology Social Work
MAY 26, 2017
Cancer care could not exist without oncology nurses. There are experienced, skilled, wonderful nurses who work for years, sometimes for decades, on in-patient oncology floors, and there are equally terrific nurses who stay just as long in the ambulatory areas. Since I work in the ambulatory/out patient world, those are the nurses whom I know best.
I know that the nurse who has cared for me since 1993 is a dear friend. I remember the time that year that she packed the drugs and syringes and needles and IV equipment in a cooler so that we could bring it to Maine (hoping that we were not stopped by the state police!), and my husband could administer a cycle while we were on vacation. I remember all the skilled/got it first time IVs she put in both in 1993 and 2005. I am so grateful for the continuing monthly shots that she gives almost painlessly. And mostly I think about her wisdom and expertise and humor and love.
I am sure that many of you feel the same way about your nurses, and those relationships are special indeed.
From Cancer Net comes this piece by Lydia Shapira, MD:
3 Things You Should Know About Oncology Nurses
I remember a young oncology nurse who once accompanied her patient
in the ambulance ride to his home after her shift was over. She told me
that she felt her presence would help put him at ease and make the
transition feel more seamless.
1. Oncology nurses form close bonds with their patients
Oncology nurses play a key role in getting patients and caregivers through and beyond illness, often forming lasting bonds that continue for years after the last treatment. Patients remember nurses who showed them compassion after a biopsy, took the time to explain the side effects of treatment, and coached them through a difficult procedure. These nurses celebrate victories with patients, comfort them after they hear bad news, advocate for those who need extra help and support, and often facilitate communication between the rest of the medical team and caregivers.
2. Oncology nurses coordinate cancer care
Oncology nurses are essential partners who help patients navigate complex treatment protocols and manage symptoms and side effects. A person’s cancer treatment will weave through many phases, and he or she may see several different professionals from different medical specializations. Often, oncology nurses are the ones who provide consistent information and guidance across the treatment plan. They have the training to assess a person’s needs in both hospitals and outpatient practices. Nurses anticipate the needs of patients and family caregivers and work with case managers and social workers to ensure that patients have adequate support and professional help in their homes and communities. I’ve had many patients who insisted on scheduling their treatments around their nurses’ schedules because the relationship they shared was so important to their care.