Home Women Who Inspire oncology nurses - oct2012

oncology nurses - oct2012


alt




altMelissa Guerin, RN ADN, OCN, Fox Valley Hematology and Oncology SC, Appleton

What made you decide to become an oncology nurse?

When I was 13, my grandmother was diagnosed with leukemia. She was in the hospital for approximately six months and I watched how her nurses cared her for. Not only did they think of her as a patient but as a friend, grandmother and loved one. They felt like family. They knew what she liked and didn’t, they provided her comfort when she needed it and they made her laugh. They were my idols – I wanted to make someone feel as special and comforted as they did. That’s why I chose oncology nursing.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I work in a clinic so on any given day we see about 120 people. I work in the chemotherapy area so I take care of around 20-30 people a day who are receiving some form of chemo. I administer the chemotherapy, provide financial help and teach families and patients about cancer, the side effects of medications and offer suggestions to help with these. On any given day there are challenges; however, it is a fast-paced working environment.

As stressful as your job must be, what do you find rewarding as an oncology nurse?

Not many people say that they love theur job every day. I do. I know that I work with people that don’t know if they have one month or three years to live but they are the most interesting and insightful people. On any given day they make you feel that you are part of their family, you share their ups and downs, their triumphs and losses. You look forward to seeing their faces and smiles and sharing with them a laugh or a hug. I feel lucky to work with so many wonderful people – they are not patients to me; they are my extended family.

altNoreen Voight, RN, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Appleton

What made you decide to become an oncology nurse?

I actually came upon oncology nursing by chance. While working in Internal Medicine at Affinity I had the opportunity to float to the outpatient oncology department. While assisting the oncology staff I was able to observe the professional interaction between the nurses and the patients. The positive energy exuded by both staff and cancer patients awakened in me the desire to pursue a new specialty. I knew this was the next phase I wanted to pursue in my nursing career. I remember a comment one of the Internal Med doctors I was working with at the time made after one of the days I floated to oncology. He said, “I think you are liking it a little too much up there,” and he was right.

As stressful as your job must be, what do you find rewarding as an oncology nurse?

The rewarding experiences as an oncology nurse are multiple and varied. The opportunity to be a part of the multi-disciplinary team including physicians, the radiation therapy team, medical oncology, social services, chaplaincy, palliative and hospice care and nutritional support to provide individualized patient care is paramount. Together with this team we are able to educate, treat and support all of our patients through their cancer journey. Allowing the patient and family to be the most active participants in the planning and decision-making involved in their care and supporting them through this process is a reward in itself. The intensity of situations may vary from the very early diagnosed breast cancer patient that has an excellent chance of cure and a long life ahead of her to the thirty-something dad who just found out his disease has metastasized to his brain and is making decisions including the future care of his family without him. Although these examples are in extreme contrast, meeting each person where they are at in their disease process and empowering them along their journey is truly a privilege. As the saying goes, “It takes a village to raise a child,” it also takes a team to care for oncology patients and it is truly an honor to be a part of that team.

What does a typical day look like for you?

In oncology nursing there is no typical day. Recently on a “typical” day a patient well known to us came to the clinic for his radiation treatment. He didn’t seem like his normal, joking self so I took him aside to talk to him. Upon questioning and assessing him, he admitted he had increased pain with breathing and pain and swelling in his leg. Within a very short time he was examined by the radiation oncologist, treated in the ER and admitted to the hospital with a life threatening condition ... all before 8:30 a.m. This same patient was back in two days, resuming his radiation treatments and feeling much better. Due to all of the potential side effects an oncology patient may encounter, when symptoms arise the patients need to be assessed and treated quickly to avoid further often life-threatening complications. So, a typical day includes meeting and supporting newly diagnosed patients, supporting established patients and always being accessible for the unexpected.


altCarol Kros RN, OCN, Green Bay Oncology, Green Bay

What made you decide to become an oncology nurse?

I became an oncology nurse because of a personnel experience. When someone is diagnosed with cancer it is a very scary time. Each patient I see I can relate to on some level.

What was one of your most memorable or moving experiences you’ve had working as an oncology nurse?

There have been so many memorable and moving experiences working as an oncology nurse. I have had the privilege of meeting and working with some remarkable people.

As stressful as your job must be, what do you find rewarding as an oncology nurse?

Being an oncology nurse can be very stressful. Our patients are so appreciative of what we do. When a patient thanks us and tells us we have made this difficult time for them a positive experience it is very rewarding to me and reminds me why I became an oncology nurse.


altBonnie Hoersch, RN, OCN, clinical lead, Appleton Medical    Center, Appleton

What was one of your most memorable or moving experiences you’ve had working as an oncology nurse?

One of our leukemic patients told us her dream was to have a red Corvette. We assumed that some day she would pursue that dream but, medically, things were getting worse for her. When she finally left the hospital, she was on hospice and we knew she didn’t have much time left. We somehow wanted to help make her dream a reality before her death.  Our staff pulled together and used their resources. Within the next 2 days, a red Corvette (with a driver) showed up at her house to take her for a “spin.” She was thrilled beyond belief! A few days later, we received a card from her family telling us she had passed away. In it was a note of thanks and a picture of her in the red Corvette. Going that extra mile to help people is what it’s all about!

As stressful as your job must be, what do you find rewarding as an oncology nurse?

It’s so rewarding to be able to help people through this phase in their life. We really get to know some of them very well. Even though their life may be ending soon, you feel as though you’ve made a difference. It makes you appreciate all that you have.

What is one piece of advice you can share with readers about caring for their own health?

Take time to enjoy your life. I’ve seen so many people work hard to save for retirement. Then retirement comes, they get sick and regret that they never got to do the things they wanted. Going that extra mile to help people physically, mentally and spiritually is what it’s all about!


altJill Winther RN, BSN, OCN, Clinical Team   Facilitator, Cancer TEAM at Bellin Health, Green Bay

What made you decide to become an oncology nurse?

My first job was working with the hospice population and my love of oncology grew from there. It is very rewarding to be able to educate, treat and offer support to patients and families during their cancer journey. Over the years, I have had the privilege of caring for many amazing patients and families.

What is one piece of advice you can share with readers about caring for their own health?

Find an outlet for stress, participate in a healthy lifestyle, have a good relationship with your health care provider and follow recommended screenings. Early detection saves lives.

What was one of your most memorable or moving experiences you’ve had working as an oncology nurse?

As a young nurse, I cared for a 23-year-old woman who was in the hospital receiving her first chemotherapy for leukemia. We had developed a relationship over the weeks she was in the hospital. When her beautiful, long dark hair started falling out, she asked me to shave her head. We laughed and cried together. Afterwards, we spent time figuring out how to tie a scarf around her head so she would look nice when her fiancé came to visit. Those moments were more important than any medicine I could have given her. It was about her as a young woman … feeling like a young woman with all the hopes and dreams that are part of our humanity.


altLyndsay Nickolai RN, MSN, OCN, Cancer Nurse Navigator, Aurora BayCare Medical Center, Green Bay

What made you decide to become an oncology nurse?

Early in my career I was fortunate enough to realize where my true passion was: the oncology field of nursing. The intimate relationship that you develop as an oncology nurse with not only the patient, but with their entire family, is something that is not found in many areas of nursing. For me, this is truly irreplaceable.

What does a typical day look like for you?

I have a unique position that allows me to be very flexible in my role. There are some days I end up spending an entire afternoon educating a patient and family and others where I manage a Multidisciplinary Cancer Clinic and work to coordinate care in a timely and convenient manner for our patients.

What was one of your most memorable or moving experiences you’ve had working as an oncology nurse?

We had an amazing young woman diagnosed with terminal cancer who had four children. After doing some research, I was able to provide them with an all-expense paid trip to Disney World. This is something they would not have been able to put together for themselves, and just a month after their trip she succumbed to her disease. That experience will be with those children forever. Without the allowed flexibility of my role, I would not have been able to work on this for them.


altLaurie North, RN, St. Vincent Regional  Cancer Center, Green Bay (not pictured)

What made you decide to become an oncology nurse?

In my senior year of nursing school I did a rotation on the oncology unit. I was impressed with the professionalism of the nurses and their holistic approach to patient and family care. I realized that cancer care could encompass prevention to end of life and it sparked an interest in me to pursue a career in oncology.

As stressful as your job must be, what do you find rewarding as an oncology nurse?

Dealing with cancer and treatments can be very stressful for patients and families. I find it very rewarding and a privilege that during these intimate and often difficult times, patients and their families invite me into their lives to help them with their journey.

What is one piece of advice you can share with readers in caring for their own health?

Listen to your body. Talk with your health care provider about any concerns or questions you may have about your health and seek answers to questions until you are satisfied. Discuss preventive screenings and their importance to you. We are all our own best advocate for health care.

Visit Our Advertisers

E-Subscriber List




Joomla : My Women Magazine

Women Who Inspire Advertisers

Facebook

Joomla Templates and Joomla Extensions by ZooTemplate.Com