4 ways a nurse is the heart of your cancer care

May 18, 2016 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health

It takes someone truly special to be a nurse. Nurses provide support, comfort and knowledge during our most intimate and vulnerable moments. As healers and helpers, nurses wear many hats. It’s a career that is both challenging and rewarding.

An oncology nurse, in particular, walks beside patients through the ups and downs of a difficult disease. They do more than monitor a patient’s condition, communicate with their oncologists and coordinate care. They are there to help their patients through some of the most difficult times in life. They see you at your worst and give their best.

This job of caring for people with cancer takes more than a solid education and training. It takes something that can only come from one place — the heart.

Oncology nurses truly are the heart of cancer care. An oncology nurse adjusts his/her role to fit the needs of their patients. They can be:

  1. Advocates. Every patient is different. Nurses are the ones at your bedside, getting to know you and your family. They are often the first to recognize and alert your medical team of any serious issues before they arise. They pay attention to both your physical and emotional well-being and advocate for you when needed.
  2. Caregivers. Nurses show empathy and compassion for you and your family in more ways than one. They’ll safely administer medications and help you plan for and manage symptoms throughout treatment. They’ll also be there as a shoulder to lean on when concerns and issues arise.
  3. Communicators. A great nurse knows how to listen. They listen and follow directions from both you and your medical team, balancing the needs of everyone involved. They communicate with your doctors on your behalf. They also help translate complex medical information for you and answer your questions.
  4. Teachers. As educators, nurses make sure both you and your family understand the disease, your diagnosis and treatment options. They help you make informed decisions about your care and they often help ease your worries. When times get tough, nurses provide coaching and assurance.

Every day, oncology nurses put their own needs aside to make room for their patient’s needs — which, for people with cancer, are naturally great. It’s a physically, mentally and emotionally demanding job. Who better to do it than the ones with the biggest hearts?

Learn more about cancer care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

Do you know a great nurse? Tag them in the comments!

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