I feel incredibly lucky to work as a nurse on the Gynecologic Oncology (Gyn/Onc) team at Minnesota Oncology. I not only work with my team at the Minneapolis clinic, but am also a part of a team of five Gyn/Onc nurses spread amongst the five Minnesota Oncology sites which provide Gyn/Onc services. While each of us primarily work with patients at our specified clinic, we also cover for each other when one has a day off or is on vacation. The benefit of this nursing cross-coverage model is our patients are always able to talk to a nurse trained in the Gyn/Onc specialty. If patients have concerns related to their diagnosis, treatment plan, or symptom management there is always an experienced Gyn/Onc nurse available to address their concerns. We utilize various communication methods in an effort to make patient care as seamless as possible. Even though each clinic has their differences, we function as one cohesive team.
Nurses work very closely with their providers at each site. On clinic days, you can find me sitting next to my physician, located in the corner of our office. Our close proximity promotes a unique environment where patients can receive real-time feedback from their provider as needed. Even when the Physician is not in office, a Gyn/Onc Nurse Practitioner or Physician Assistant is always available to help guide patient care. Our team holds weekly team “huddles” where we review patient needs and discuss care plans. These “team huddles” are common practice amongst each site, which ensures the entire team is familiar with each patient’s unique needs.
What I cherish most about my job is being part of the patient experience during each step of their cancer journey. At the beginning of each consultation visit, I’m able to sit down with each patient to review their symptoms and medical history. After the surgeon meets the patient and reviews their recommended treatment plan, I’m then able to conclude the visit by providing pertinent patient education. The time spent with patients during their consult is so valuable in establishing the nurse-patient relationship.
Our Gyn/Onc nursing team is ready to support and partner with our patients in their treatment journey. We hope to relieve some of the burden during an uncertain season of life.