It was by chance that my first professional nurse position was on an oncology unit at Temple University Hospital. Although inexperienced, I was surprised how comfortable I felt with my patients and the intensity of the disease. I knew almost immediately that oncology nursing was where I wanted to practice. While at Temple I immersed myself in all aspects of the care of acute oncology patients.
After 10 great years at Temple I felt that I had gained enough experience to move on to the more independent practice of home hospice. I accepted a position as hospice staff nurse at Fox Chase Cancer Center. I felt that this was a natural path both professionally and personally. I enjoyed learning, practicing and teaching end of life care throughout the 20 years of working in our hospice program.
Health care reform, and the impact on the oncology patient, were concerning enough for me to move in a different direction at Fox Chase Cancer Center. While I was the hospice liaison we added acute case management to my position. This combination allowed me to continue to follow my patients and also helped me to make the best possible plan for their heath care needs. This position allowed me to continue teaching end of life care to young medical professionals as well as caring for my patients both in-patient and out-patient. I was also able to complete Certifications in Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing and Oncology Nursing during this time.
Recently my professional path has lead me to Nurse Navigation. It is very rewarding to be in a position to assist a patient and their family with a diagnosis of cancer. Every patient is unique—as is their plan of care. I am proud to be part of a multi-disciplinary team who share the same passion for the oncology patient as I do. Many are nurses, physicians and, pharmacists who began their careers with me back on that first oncology unit many years ago. I feel that my greatest teachers have been my patients and I am grateful that their experiences have enabled me to continue helping others.
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