An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring KIM GAIER, RN [FOX CHASE CANCER CENTER, PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA]
BY Jeffrey M. Farma, M.D. Associate Professor of Surgical Oncology, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia
Jeffrey M. Farma, M.D., and Kim Gaier, RN - PHOTOS BY KRISTA PATTON
Our team has worked together now for the past four years at Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC). Kim has worked at FCCC for over 15 years. We see patients in our multidisciplinary melanoma, sarcoma and GI clinic. Kim’s presence and work ethic help to bring sanity to my usually very busy and complicated outpatient clinics. She is unflustered, and no matter how busy, complex or stressful the clinic is, she maintains composure and compassion.
She has a huge heart and continually goes the extra mile to comfort patients, coordinate their schedules, follow up with them or alleviate their anxieties. She will always make that extra call for a patient to get a scan so they don’t have to travel back from afar, or to alleviate their anxiety. No matter how busy we are, or how many residents, fellows or medical students are crammed into our workspace, if patients are upset about wait times or if she has to perform preoperative teaching on the nth patient I have consented that day, she has a smile on her face.
Over the years, we have grown to know each other’s families, and she is a wonderful mom. She is a true patient advocate, and with our team has become involved in advocacy and outreach programs to raise awareness and research money for cancer. Each year we participate in at least two 5K runs for Miles for Melanoma and Get Your Rear in Gear, and Kim is amazingly helpful in promoting our teams to patients, families and staff, and in helping us to raise more money every year.
We had a particularly tough case with a patient who had very limited resources and a poor support system. Kim solely worked with our social workers and advocacy group for this patient to receive a free iPad during his hospital stay. He could not have been more appreciative. Kim has an amazing attitude and exemplifies to me why I work at FCCC, why I became a surgical oncologist and why we provide such a high level of truly special care to our patients with cancer. I wish we could clone her.