Easing Worried Patients During Difficult Times Throughout Cancer Treatment

Extraordinary Healer®, Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 15, Volume 15,

A colleague writes about an infusion nurse that has the bedside manner to make patients’ experiences with cancer a little calmer with her sense of humor and knowledge.

I had the pleasure of working with Mary Ellen Husted, OCN, for nearly two years as an infusion nurse at the MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. I came to admire Mary Ellen almost immediately due to her extensive knowledge and skillset as an oncology nurse. More importantly, however, Mary Ellen's greatest attribute is — without a doubt — her bedside manner.

I can recall countless occurrences during which she was able to ease a worried patient with her tactful sense of humor or gain the trust of someone new with her impressive breadth of knowledge. She has a natural ease when interacting with others. She is able to forge strong bonds with her patients through her calming demeanor, her lighthearted spirit and her genuine concern.

I recall a specific patient with whom Mary Ellen formed an incredible relationship throughout her many years of treatment for breast cancer. As the patient's health began to decline, Mary Ellen was always there to offer support and provide her with safe, compassionate care. Mary Ellen always seemed to brighten this patient's worst days with a joke, a happy conversation and sometimes, when needed, a hug or shoulder to cry on.

Mary Ellen is everything one hopes to be as an oncology nurse — intelligent, intuitive, highly skilled, deeply caring and funny. It has been my honor to call Mary Ellen a colleague and a friend. She is most deserving of this recognition.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Christina Klawitter, RN, M.S.N., OCN, for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award. Click here to read more about CURE®’s Extraordinary Healer® Award for Oncology Nursing event on April 30, 2021.

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