An Outstanding Oncology Nursing Team: Team AIC

Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healers Vol. 9, Volume 9, Issue 1

An Extraordinary Healers essay honoring Cecilia Padarong, Robin Jackson, Jean Quitevis, Conchita Valentino and Anthony Simon.

When I received the CURE email announcing this award, I knew my team of AIC Oncology nurses needed to be nominated (and/or essayed about!). They deserve to be recognized for their exceptional commitment to our nations’ veterans as well as their commitment to providing outstanding cancer care.

The VA Palo Alto AIC team is simply extraordinary in every way. They demonstrate exceptional knowledge, skill, professionalism and most of all, an outstanding commitment to our nation’s heroes, our veterans. The team consistently demonstrates compassion, concern and an unending amount of care that extends beyond their job descriptions and their job titles.

The AIC team works in a relatively small area; veterans, caregivers and oncology staff are all right there and function as a team, working seamlessly while moving from one veteran to another. The team works with a variety of cancer diagnoses as well as administering chemotherapy, hydration, blood transfusions, pain medications and a variety of treatments that they excel at.

This team creates an atmosphere of overall concern, comfort and understanding to our most compromised population of veterans. Often, the team is a veteran’s only source of comfort and support — the surrogate family to many of them. Because the AIC team is genuinely supportive, concerned and caring, this feeling often provides the help needed to get our veterans through the completion of their difficult treatments.

The team is very sensitive to our veterans’ families, their support people, their friends and their caregivers, providing much information, kindness — or simply a bottle of water!

The AIC team frequently leads the way in a Code Blue situation; the team works quickly and efficiently to handle any immediate crisis. And they continue to work with each Code Blue team member that arrives, not only leading the team but providing important support to the family as well as the other veterans observing the crisis. And they do this with calm efficiency and outstanding nursing professionalism.

Other examples of outstanding nursing care include the team frequently following up with veterans when they are admitted to the hospital; the relationships the AIC team has with their veterans is strong and supportive — and it does not end when the veteran walks out of the AIC door. They often celebrate holidays and events such as “last day of chemotherapy” and “last day of radiation.”

The team has expertise in handling complex physical medical issues, such as administering chemotherapy with compassion and care. They also help veterans with severe mental illness and disabling service-connected conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury.

The AIC team is always moving forward by incorporating the highest standards of nursing into their everyday practice in a creative and innovative manner. As a team, they continually strive to integrate excellence into their daily nursing responsibilities. The AIC team represents the highest standards of nursing as well as the Core Values of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs: Integrity, Commitment, Advocacy, Respect and Excellence.