A Cancer Nurse Changes the Lives of Patients

Extraordinary Healer®, CURE® Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 16, Volume 16,

When someone receives a diagnosis of cancer, it is probably one of the scariest times in their life. A nurse not only needs to provide good care, she also needs to be a good listener.

Nursing today is so vastly different than it was 30 years ago. Nurses couldn’t scan medications. There were no electronic charts or rovers to assist the nurse providing patient care. But even with the tools that exist today, nurses are being stretched very thin and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exasperated health care professionals.

My daughter Brooke Torpey, B.S.N., RN-BC, OCN, is an oncology nurse who is dedicated to nursing. She has worked as both an inpatient and outpatient registered nurse in two facilities at the same time during the pandemic. Why? Because she could not let her patients down.

When someone receives a diagnosis of cancer, it is probably one of the scariest times in their life. A nurse not only needs to provide good care, she also needs to be a good listener. Brooke is one of the most caring, compassionate nurses I have ever met. There are so many different stories to tell, but there are three incidents that touch me the most and forever changed the lives of her patients.

A patient was given a stuffed toy bear by a loved one. One day, Brooke went into the patient’s room and found the woman crying. The patient told my daughter that her bear was missing. After thoroughly searching the room, the bear could not be found. On Brooke’s lunch break, she went to the gift shop and bought a card and a toy bear. The patient was now crying with joy and could not thank my daughter enough.

In another instance, someone my daughter’s age received a very poor prognosis. At first, the patient’s father seemed to act very mean. But in hindsight, the family was very angry because they knew their son was dying. There was no medication or procedure left to try. Their son was withering away before their eyes, and they had no control over their son’s fate.

Brooke was the only RN who had the ability to calm the father down. She explained everything that was going on and the plans for the upcoming days. This family relied on my daughter so much that they always asked when she was working. And if she was, there was never a question that their son would be her patient. They knew their son was getting the best care and that my daughter was doing everything in her power to keep their son comfortable. The family invited my daughter to the funeral.

The last story hits closer to home. A close family friend recently received a diagnosis of cancer. He felt a little more comfortable when he found out who his nurse was. Brooke always maintains privacy practices and never mentions her patients’ names. So I was caught off guard when I received a call from him one evening. He asked if I knew who he saw. I had no idea.

He said, “You never told me your daughter works at this institution.” He went on to thank me for raising such an amazing nurse. He said she knew things he never even heard about. He couldn’t thank me enough.

I was so proud of my daughter and beaming with pride. And then I started getting calls from other friends; even the principal of the grammar school that my children had attended thanked me. She reached out and said our close friend had called to tell her who his nurse was and that he was so comforted knowing it was Brooke.

After Brooke obtained her OCN certification, she developed a program at work to teach her fellow nurses so they would be able to take and pass their certification. She wrote chemotherapy questions for the exam for the Oncology Nurses Society (ONS) at the headquarters in Pittsburgh. She likes to participate in ONS activities and always jumps at opportunities.

Brooke is an outstanding oncology nurse who truly deserves to be recognized as an Extraordinary Healer®.

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