Oncology Nursing Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
Story by Michele Silsby and Maureen Rogers
Every nurse plays a significant and special role in the lives of their patients. At RPCCC hundreds of nurses readily give of themselves to provide care and comfort to patients who receive a diagnosis of cancer.
PEF member Maureen Rogers a registered nurse at Roswell for the last ten years tells me, “I just love my job and what I do. When I come into work I make up my mind I am going to do whatever it takes to provide the best care possible for my patients.”
Maureen tends to three adult patients on 5 North where she cares for post Bone Marrow Transplant patients or those diagnosed with Leukemia or Lymphoma. Being an oncology nurse also has an exciting edge, especially when a new treatment is discovered. Maureen is a part of a team that included other PEF members who launched the world’s first clinical trial involving T Cells, which are a part of the body’s immune system. “Basically what we do is extract the T Cells from the patient, manipulate them, put them back into the patient so they can attach to a solid tumor and destroy it. My role as a Registered Nurse is to intravenously administer the manipulated T Cells to the patient while assessing and keeping the patient safe during the Infusion.”
“Sometimes it is very heavy on my heart. Cancer can affect anyone one of us. I feel the nurses at Roswell are exceptional people. I feel like Oncology Nurses have a special quality. It resembles a calling.”
Every day is different. One of the most important things a nurse can do daily for their patients is to listen to them. The patients’ that Maureen cares for have long term admissions at RPCCC. Sometimes up to 6 months. Nurses develop significant relationships with their patients’ and family members.
“After completion of the nursing tasks of administering medications and getting patients’ ready for the day it is the nurse who sits down and asks, “How are you doing today? It’s an Oncology nurse who can seize the moment that will allow patients to talk about all the things that are important to them. Oncology is not just doing tasks, we have to sit down and listen.
Maureen considers the patients who achieve remission to be a success. But there are times that we do not achieve remission and the patient will find themselves approaching the end of life. Nurses can impact the patient’s course for end of life care. Maureen said her daughter Abigail Rogers RN started working as a nurse at Roswell on 7E. “When I look at her, I see a young version of myself.” When she was in nursing school, she would ask me about my day, I would share with her events of my day and what I did as a nurse. It is rewarding as a mother to listen to the events of Abigail’s day as a Registered Nurse.