An Oncology Nurse Who Is Always Glad to Answer Calls

Extraordinary Healer®Extraordinary Healer® Volume 17
Volume 17

It is that one-to-one communication that allows Kimberly Rosencrance, B.S.N., RN, OCN, to excel as an oncology nurse.

Each day we are overwhelmed with multiple modes of communication: phones we hold in our hands, headsets we wear, buds planted in our ears ... texts, audio messages, instant messages. And yet it is that one-to-one communication that allows Kimberly Rosencrance, B.S.N., RN, OCN, to excel as an oncology nurse.

Kim is a patient access nurse coordinator at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). She maximizes access for new/potential patients to MSKCC by using her oncology expertise and critical thinking skills to ensure appropriate resolution of all calls and requests. In her role, Kim serves as a clinical resource for the referral specialists to assure quality referrals and appropriate, timely appointments. This is all done via the telephone with patients and families seeking care at MSKCC.

Kim graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing and a Bachelor of Arts in psychology before joining the MSKCC family in 2003. Kim’s expertise in critical care, cardiac care and oncology provided the expert knowledge and development in preparing for her role in patient access nursing. Kim’s ability to handle sensitive and challenging patient interactions in a fast-paced environment assures patients and colleagues, as do her work ethic and discipline in providing compassionate care to all who seek her guidance.

yellow corded phone on a gray background

"(Kimberly Rosencrance, B.S.N., RN, OCN) reassures every caller that she is 'really listening,' often letting her silence do the heavy lifting as the patient shares their story," her nominator, Ann Culkin, B.S.N., RN, OCN, wrote.

When patients and families learn of their cancer diagnosis or spot a suspicious lesion that may be cancer, they call our oncology nurses. Kim conducts these emotionally loaded conversations with insight, expertise and listening skills to remove obstacles to the best oncology care. Kim reassures every caller that she is “really listening,” often letting her silence do the heavy lifting as the patient shares their story.

As health care delivery models changed with the global pandemic, our workforce in patient access changed to a remote work setting. Kim and colleagues were now alone at their home computers handling high-volume calls for review of records and diagnosis and timely scheduling. Having necessary resources available to them and learning telehealth pathways of licensure and availability of providers were vital to the success of the organization. Kim gathered each day with her nursing colleagues in a virtual huddle to define strategy for workloads and manage resources to ensure quality care.

Kim consistently advocates for patients with highly complex issues related to their disease. She also communicates with our referral specialists for optimal insurance coverage and out-of-network authorization details while keeping the focus on the patient and helping to lessen the financial toxicity that a cancer diagnosis can cause.

Patients write compliments about Kim such as, “She created a calm, peaceful setting for a stressful time, she answered all my questions.” Another patient’s family member who worked with Kim said she was “very helpful, very professional, very patient.”

Listening to the call interaction, you will often hear patients thanking Kim. Recently a colleague who is now a patient shared, “I felt a huge weight lift off my shoulder just by talking to Kim. She was like a partner in this process.”

Kim’s nursing colleagues shared similar sentiments. One writes, “I have had the good fortune of being oriented to this role by Kim. She is thorough, thoughtful and kind almost to a fault. In training with her I had the opportunity to listen in on several conversations where she delivered disappointing news in the most comforting manner and good news with joy that you can hear. I still pause in moments of indecision and ask, ‘What would Kim do?’”

Another colleague writes, “Sometimes patients need to talk to someone who is really listening, because in this remote setting we never lay eyes or hands on the patients. Kim listens and cares ... That is a true oncology nurse.”

Memorial Sloan Kettering is a community of exceptional people united by a clear single-minded purpose: conquering cancer. Patients and families are the center of what we do, every day in every way. Her focused assessments and psychosocial care facilitate engagement for patients and families filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

Advocacy, care, concern, empathy and kindness are the feelings experienced when calling Kim for access to care. Kim is celebrated in the ever-changing landscape of oncology care, which truly makes her an extraordinary healer.

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