An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring ADRIANA TAURIELLO-WISE, RN, OCN [THE CANCER INSTITUTE AT ST. FRANCIS HOSPITAL, EAST HILL, NEW YORK]
Arlene McGrotty and Adriana Tauriello-Wise, RN, OCN PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH KRISTIN PHOTOGRAPHY
IN A FOGGY DAZE, I entered the infusion center with dread. Instantly, my world was changed by Adriana Tauriello-Wise, who was surrounded by an aura of love, positive vibes and the brightest sunshine smile, which drew me in. She welcomed me with a hug as she said, “I got you!” And so she did — for two years of grueling chemotherapy. Adriana’s expertise, knowledge, gentle manner (and “tough love” when needed) helped me rise to a level of complete trust. We sang “It’s All About the Bass” as the doxorubicin flowed, and ate donuts that she brought me from her home because she knew I loved cream-filled ones!
Although she had a heavy caseload, Adriana made me feel like her sister, and when she couldn’t be with me, she would smile and wink as she passed by. Four infusion patients at a time did not faze Adriana. She gives the same personal warmth to every single one. She listens with all her heart and soul. Her smile comes through the phone when she calls her patients to see how they are doing after an infusion. And Adriana’s devotion is evident when she goes home each night and shares her experiences with her family. Her teenage son now volunteers at the hospital, and he too plans to pursue a career in medicine, as his mom has.
For the past 21 years, Adriana has treated her patients as individuals. “Getting to know you” is her mantra as she amazingly remembers each patient’s story. Her references to her patients’family members show an incredible personal interest that is so rare to find. Although advances in cancer treatment have skyrocketed in recent years, Adriana has accumulated the ongoing knowledge about every form of cancer she treats. If she doesn’t know the answer to a patient’s question (which is rare), she will get the answer instantly.
It is not only the patients who admire and seek out Adriana’s expertise and advice. She is well known for taking new nurses and associates under her wing and instantly making them feel at home in daunting surroundings. Because of this, Adriana has been awarded the Cancer Center Nurse of the Month award several times. Her guidance, along with that of a veteran nurse manager, has created a cancer center staff that has been nationally recognized for their care, compassion and expertise. Not to be ignored, Adriana’s baking skills are celebrated far and wide as she bakes for holidays, patient birthdays and other occasions. The nurse’s station is never devoid of an Adriana celebration cake! And Adriana deserves to be celebrated, as well. She has been the sunshine in hundreds of lives!