Patients look to their nurses for knowledge — specifically, to confirm the information they’ve heard from their oncologists. If a nurse has not kept up to date with ever-changing cancer therapies, the patient loses confidence in the treatment protocol. Gretchen Marino, RN, OCN, is up to date in her knowledge, and this inspires confidence in her patients. The phrase “I can do this” goes through the patient’s mind, as well as: “I can be a survivor, one of the survivors Gretchen speaks about.”
Patients need compassion from the medical system. In a world where oncology centers are like factories, compassion gets squeezed out. It’s important for a nurse do more than her job — putting on a tourniquet or inserting a needle — and Gretchen does. She has awareness of and sympathy for the patient’s situation, a kinder, gentler approach. This kind of compassion can help reduce the patient's suffering. It’s an important part of the treatment plan.
Persistence is required to be a nurse. Patients are scared, frazzled and in pain, and they can be a trying bunch. Dealing with them gently day after day can be challenging. But Gretchen is able to keep her wits about her and remain cool under pressure.
Scientists have determined that patients’ attitudes about their disease and prognosis affect their overall survival odds. Few things can torpedo a patient’s attitude faster than health care practitioners with poor communication skills, a problem that can also lead to medical mistakes. Gretchen has great listening and speaking skills and solves problems by effectively communicating with patients, their families and physicians. She not only solves the problem, but can sometimes anticipate it.
Confidence and attention to detail are key factors in Gretchen’s work. She realizes that mistakes can be deadly and is on top of every detail to make sure she does not miss a step, and that gives her patients confidence in her.
Gretchen works long hours in a pressure-filled environment. Without solid stamina, she wouldn’t be able to keep up with the dizzying pace. In addition, there are physical tasks, such as helping patients to stand or move. These become even more difficult because Gretchen is on her feet the entire day. This is why she works out and is physically active, so she can be energetic enough to make it through the day in top form, irrespective of whether she’s on surgical duty or looking after a patient.
Finally, Gretchen has a great sense of humor, which is helpful in difficult situations. Combined with her top-flight nursing skills, this attribute helps her to keep the situation under control in tough times.
Gretchen’s ability to be helpful to those in need is nothing short of phenomenal.