I’d like to introduce you to Christine and Wandi, just two of the many Fox Chase nurses who represent our outstanding nursing staff. Their compassion and dedication is what sets Fox Chase nurses apart from the rest. As a physician, I am extremely proud of our nursing staff and their deep commitment to patients.
While it is important to recognize the efforts of our nurses on a daily basis, we get a special opportunity next week when we observe the official Nurses’ Week 2012 (May 7-11) with special activities every day.
If you are a patient, caregiver or friend, we hope you will join us on Wednesday for the Nurses’ Awards Ceremony at noon in the Auditorium. In the past, this event was designed for staff, but this year the nursing staff would like to extend invitations to you – patients, caregivers and friends. If you’d like to attend, please contact Jane Edwards (email@example.com) or 215-728-4315.
Monday, May 7 – Distribution of Gifts to Nursing Staff
Tuesday, May 8 – Reiki Therapy Sessions
Wednesday, May 9 – Nurses’ Awards Ceremony and Dessert Reception (Auditorium), featuring 2012 Nurse Recognition Award, three travel scholarships, the Team Award and the Magnet Moment award.
Thursday, May 10 - Night Shift Snack Baskets
Friday, May 11 - Nurses’ Week Raffle Drawing (chances are $1 each, 6 for $5 and proceeds benefit nursing education)
I’d like to recognize the outstanding efforts of the Nurses’ Week committee for planning a special, fun-filled week. The committee includes Chris Amoroso, Marianne Bonner, Linda Coli, Deb Donahue, Aubrey Edwards, Janet Farley, Caitlin Foley, Fredy-Jo Grafman, Christine Kappler, Margie Kearns, Jessica Kelly, Lisa Ludwig, Laura Mackin, Janice Moore, Mickey Mullin, Donna Ozovek, Sarah Porzig, Monica Scanlon and Helen Schwartz.
Raffle items needed!
The Nurses’ Week Committee is collecting raffle items for next Friday’s raffle. If you would like to donate an item or two, it would be much appreciated. You can bring items to the Nurses’ Award Program on Wednesday, May 9 or contact Jane Edwards to make arrangements for drop-off. Items of particular interest include sporting event or theater tickets, as well as gift certificate for manicures/pedicures, restaurants and shops. All proceeds of the Nurses’ Week raffle will benefit nursing education.
This week, I have the special honor of introducing you to Kathy McGonigal, a certified oncology nurse. Not only is Kathy the Breast Care and GI Coordinator at Fox Chase Cancer Center Partner hospital, Pottstown Memorial Medical Center, she is the founder of Hands Unite to Give Strength, (H.U.G.S.), a program she developed to support cancer patients emotionally and financially.
Be well, Bob
“I am a daughter, sister, wife, mother and grandmother. I am also an oncology certified nurse and sometimes I think that is what defines me.” Kathy McGonigal
Having spent the last 20 years as a certified oncology nurse, I believe I have first hand knowledge of the impact of cancer. Not just on the individual diagnosed, but everyone around them – family, friends, nurses, and doctors. And one of the things I’ve learned is that everyone finds and draws strength from different sources. But the reality is that the only other person who understands what it’s like to be diagnosed with cancer, is another cancer survivor.
This understanding was the catalyst for Hands Unite to Give Strength (HUGS).
Our mission is to create a community of cancer survivors who come together to help each other sustain hopefulness and optimism when there is uncertainty.
H.U.G.S. is a place where patients and survivors can share their story, find additional strength, and support one another. It is home to real examples of the ups and downs and the wins and losses associated with cancer. The stories inspire perseverance, strength, and courage. They bring life’s real joys and priorities into perspective.
Through H.U.G.S., we have accomplished our goal of supporting and contributing to the cancer community in several ways. First, our site is a place to read the inspiring stories of cancer survivors. These generous people have been kind enough to let others into their lives during their most challenging times. They have shared their deepest fears and their greatest accomplishments. The beauty of the stories is they aren’t just for other cancer patients, they resonate with family members, caregivers, friends, and complete strangers. While the theme is cancer, the message is about living the fullest life.
Secondly, we have designed unique hats and headscarves for patients going through chemotherapy. Everyone who has shared their story has also donated a piece of personal fabric that was meaningful to them during their cancer treatment. We take that fabric and turn it into “patches” with that survivor’s name embroidered on it. Each hat/headscarf we make has one of these patches sewn onto it. We hope that when you wear one of these garments, you can connect with the strength of survivors who came before you.
And finally, we wanted to find a way to further support the cancer community at large. We have found and been connected to other groups and organizations who are doing amazing work supporting patients, survivors, and researchers. As a result we have started the H.U.G.S. Fund.
A portion of all the proceeds from the sale of hats and headscarves will go toward this fund. We will then use this money to make donations and contributions to other organizations that are making a difference.
If you or anyone you know would like to share their story, please contact us via our website www.hugsforstrength.com or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Whether you’ve been newly diagnosed, are in the middle of treatment or in remission, we think there are many people who will be able to connect with and draw strength from your experience.
In August, we briefly introduced you to our Navigation Program launched in the Women’s Cancer Center. Our Administrative Director Bonnie Miller, RN, BSN, OCN, has been instrumental in piloting the nurse navigators, and she has done a tremendous job of addressing patient needs to continuously improve the program. For those of you who have worked with one of Fox Chase’s three nurse navigators (Jessie Schol or Christin Kramer in the Women’s Cancer Center for breast and gynecologic cancers and Joanne Stein in the main annex for head and neck cancer), you know that they provide much more than simply booking your appointments.
When women come to the center after receiving abnormal test results or a new diagnosis, they usually have a lot of questions. It is critical to connect these patients with someone on the clinical team as soon as possible, and the navigators are the first step. Instead of waiting until the day of the appointment, nurse navigators begin educating patients on the same day as the patient’s first phone call to Fox Chase.
Since April 2010, the nurse navigators in the Women’s Cancer Center have helped over 1,300 patients through their course of treatment in our Breast and Gynecologic Oncology Program, and over 300 patients in our Head and Neck Program. This high level of attention has increased patient satisfaction and decreased patient anxiety. Whether you’re new to Fox Chase or have known us for years, we always aim to make your experience as smooth and comfortable as possible. In this blog, I invited Jessie Schol, one of our breast cancer navigators, and Joanne Stein, our head and neck nurse navigator, introduce themselves so that you can hear how they came to this career path and what they love most about it.
Jessie Schol, RN, BSN, OCN – Breast Cancer Nurse Navigator
I started my career at Fox Chase in 1988 in the nurse extern program, exploring my interest in oncology nursing. I then briefly worked at another center before seeing a job opportunity at Fox Chase. Within five months, I was back, and now I’ve been here for more than 22 years. I’ve worked in various types of settings, including home infusion, protocol management and as an outpatient nurse. I became a navigator for breast cancer patients in April 2010, beginning with only one day a week to help cover for another navigator. During that time, I fell in love with the work, so I applied and became a full-time navigator in October.
While I deal with something different every day, I ultimately see myself as a liaison for the patients. Navigators don’t provide social services, but we connect patients with the people who do. Some patients are fine on their own and don’t request extra help; others really need our services and contact us on a regular basis. I’m also here to make sure that women can focus about their recovery rather than their schedules. I had a patient who called and had forgotten to drop off her scheduling form for chemotherapy, and she was supposed to receive treatment that day. I was able to move the process along and fit her in so she didn’t have to change her appointment. Another patient that was commuting from Reading for a biopsy was worried about inclement weather, but needed the biopsy before she could have surgery. I arranged to have it done on the same day, and she immediately felt relieved that she could save herself a trip in the snow. If I can alleviate anxiety for people before they step in the door, or even after they step out, that’s the best part of my job.
Joanne Stein, RN – Head and Neck Nurse Navigator
My experience at Fox Chase began as a staff nurse in 1975, when I worked a lot of head and neck patients during clinical trials in radiation. They were always my favorite patients to serve because they had a challenging course of treatment – often chemotherapy, radiation, and sometimes surgery. In the spring of 2010, I saw an opening for the nurse navigation position in head and neck and applied right away. I officially became a nurse navigator in May 2010, working with two head and neck surgeons and three medical oncologists.
The majority of my time is spent with patients in chemotherapy or radiation. I do everything from coordinating their appointments and setting up infusion room schedules to making inpatient arrangements. I also see the patients during clinics, which I work two afternoons and two full days. I think that just knowing a navigator will be there waiting for you helps the patients calm down a bit. It helps to know they have an extra contact, someone to return their calls and serve as an extra support system. At the end of treatment, if somebody says, “Thank you so much for getting me through this, I don’t know how I’d have done it without you,” it makes me feel great and as if I’m accomplishing something important.
Learn more or get connected with a nurse navigator at The Women’s Cancer Center.
Doctors and patients at Fox Chase can attest to the invaluable role of nurses in the treatment of any disease. We rely on nurses not only for their wealth of knowledge in medicine but also their compassionate care and support. The city of Philadelphia has taken notice of how important this profession is, as well, and its significant changes over the years in the new mural The Evolving Face of Nursing.
In October 2010, the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia completed a 6,500 square foot mural at the intersection of Broad and Vine Streets to celebrate the nurses at the many prominent healthcare facilities and medical schools in our city. We were thrilled to learn that one of our own nurses at Fox Chase had been chosen to appear in this important artistic and cultural project.
Agnes Masny, RN, MPH, MSN, CRNP, a nurse practitioner and genetics nursing educator in the Department of Clinical Genetics, is one of 100 nurses captured by nationally renowned artist Meg Saligman. During her 21 year career, Agnes has counseled individuals at risk for cancer and educated patients and their families about what their genetic risk means. She has also published several articles on this topic. Her inclusion in The Evolving Face of Nursing is a testament to her impressive career and her hard work.
When asked how she felt about her face being displayed for the world to see:
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be featured on that mural. The artists made me look young, which was very nice,” she jokingly added.
The mural truly captures the heart of the nursing profession through portraits and written word, from the traditional nurse of the past to today’s tech-savvy practitioner. I hope that the project has brought an increased awareness to these dedicated men and women and the progress of medicine in our Philadelphia community. If you are in the area, I encourage you to drive past the piece at Broad and Vine twice; the mural displays a different set of pictures in the daytime and at night due to the use of special paint and LED lights. It is quite the visual experience!
Read the Daily News feature on this program.