Oncology Nurses Wear Many Hats, Nenette E. Borja, RN
Roper St. Francis
Wednesday, June 06, 2012
I’m a certified oncology nurse, and I care for cancer patients. The complexity of cancer requires specific nurses who are familiar with the latest research and clinical advancements in order to successfully implement evidence-based practices and meet the varied needs of patients and their families. As an oncology nurse, my sole focus is helping people who have cancer.
The oncology nurses at Bon Secours St. Francis (BSSF) are on the front line in cancer care and serve in a multitude of important roles. They are professional caregivers, educators, counselors and even friends to their patients.
Daily interactions with patients include wig, surgical bras and prosthesis consultations. They also must juggle fulfilling chemotherapy and equipment needs and manage medication side effects, all while ensuring the patient is comfortable. An oncology nurse’s day wouldn’t be complete if we also didn’t address general barriers to care and try to resolve them.
The oncology unit at BSSF is proud to be a part of the Roper St. Francis Cancer Care team and is celebrating its first anniversary as a complete unit. A Family Affair
The day-to-day interactions don’t stop with our patients. Roper St. Francis is an extremely supportive environment for both patients and the families, who share in their fight against cancer and are on the road with them to survivorship. Patients often bring their families with them, so it is not unusual to have 10 people in a room at one time.
We share the emotional burden of cancer treatment and celebrate the milestones of our patients. I think of all the patients who we have helped beat cancer and remember them on Cancer Survivor’s Day, which was June 3 this year.
Nurses can’t change the prognosis or treatment, but they can help patients and their families get through this stressful time and deal with the smaller things – especially during cancer treatment.
Being involved with a patients’ life is always part of a nurses’ job. Oncology nurses work hard to make patients happy. Our nurses have helped many of our patients in some very touching ways. For example, we made a dying patient’s last wish - to see his son graduate come true. We brought a grandmother wanting to hold her newborn grandchild before she died into the St. Francis nursery for a moment no one who there will ever forget. We have also prepared events such as a baby shower for loved ones. It is very important for oncology patients to have someone to connect with during these life-altering events and we are honored to serve as liaisons.
Oncology nurses face some unique challenges in their work, yet overcome these obstacles by continuingly providing compassionate, excellent care. We may be ordinary people, but we perform extra-ordinary jobs.