Chemo nurses and radiation therapists

Chemotherapy nurses and radiation therapists provide much of the hands-on care to cancer patients. As a result, these professionals have a profound impact on the quality of care that patients receive.

I attend a weekly breakfast club for guys who have had cancer. I asked them to describe the qualities in a chemo nurse or radiation therapist that made their weeks of treatment easier.

Most everyone said, in one way or another, “They saw me as a person, not just as a patient.”

One man continued, “They took the time to get to know me as an individual. I could tell that I wasn’t just a body part or type of cancer that needed attention. That made a huge difference to me.”

When a person is first diagnosed with cancer, there’s often a sense that life is out of control. The best nurses and therapists provide a sense of quiet calm and say, in words and action, “We’ll get you through this.”

Sometimes it is a matter of recognizing and acknowledging the patient’s anxiety. New cancer patients feel especially raw and vulnerable. The best caregivers put patients at ease by witnessing that fear and not dismissing it.

Some professionals seem to have an almost telepathic sense when things aren’t right. They pick up subtle cues from the patient’s body language and facial expressions and then gently probe for more information.

The potential side effects of cancer treatment are overwhelming. Good nurses and therapists clearly explain what’s to be expected, what’s unusual, and when to call for help. That sounds simple, but it isn’t because every patient is so different. Discussions need to be tailored to the patient’s level of understanding and style of learning. And family members need to be involved as well.

Personal warmth and good humor are also essential for providing cancer care. No one wants a crabby nurse or therapist. I’m constantly amazed at how much humor is present in oncology. I think people relish laughter when sadness is never far away.

At the end of treatment, patients invariably say, “I’m going to miss those guys.” While providing complex treatment, the nurses and therapists provided security, comfort, and kindness. And they became friends.


Reprinted with permission of the Ithaca Journal.
Original publication date: Oct. 29, 2016

Share:

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
On Key

Related Posts

10/3 CRC Cares About Families!

Saturday, October 3rd from 9:30-11:30  #CRCCaresAboutFamiliesAre you a family with young children or teens in the household with a parent or close family member affected by cancer? We invite you to

stack rock on seashore

Free Virtual Wellness Programming Continues

Anyone affected by cancer (including long-term survivors and caregivers) are encouraged to join us.  All classes free of charge. Email info@crcfl.net for more information. CRC & Lifelong Collaboration: Strength Training

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

See Great Resources and Events happening! Free “ZERO Prostate Cancer” Webinar In prostate cancer and COVID-19, disparities between Black and white patients are well-documented among diagnosis, treatment, and mortality statistics.