How a Cancer Nurse Can Make an Infusion Center a ‘Pleasant and Comfortable’ Experience

Donna Martin-Tap

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

A patient describes her experience with a nurse shortly after her breast cancer surgery, which involved relocation to another facility.

I first met Jamie O’Connor, B.S.N., RN, OCN, at the Dawes facility of Inova Health in Alexandria, Virginia, and I was newly retired from Chicago, Illinois. I had breast cancer surgery and needed follow-up with an oncologist. Having a monumental case of needle-phobia, I presented Jamie with her initial issue. It took a teddy bear, some hugs and handholding to get past this fear. There is no way to describe the compassion, time and professionalism Jamie demonstrated.

Shortly after, I was diagnosed with stage 4 brain, lung and bone cancer. Now we advance into the big league of heath care. She walked me through the port placement from my nursing facility, had me delivered to a chemotherapy center and stayed by via email and text. During this time, the Dawes facility was closed, and all staff, physicians and patients needed to relocate. Jamie opted for Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington D.C., and I followed, as my oncologist transferred to Duke University Medical Center.

I requested Jamie be my infusionist, if possible, at Sibley Memorial Hospital. How fortunate a choice of both the hospital and the nurse. She adapted to her new surroundings with aplomb, even teaching others how to get patient data on their computer system. She has the stamina of the energizer bunny, a comprehensive knowledge of her profession and the patience of Mother Teresa. Not to be lost in this litany of accolades is her sense of humor. An infusion center is not the happiest of places, but Jamie works hard at making each and every experience as pleasant and comfortable as possible.

I am able to deal with my illness better than anticipated due to my involvement with Jamie. My work history involved working in a level one trauma unit for over 30 years. Though not a nurse, I was involved with them daily working in the department of anesthesiology. To that end, I feel this superlative nurse deserves any and all recognition available. I am delighted to recommend her for this award.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Donna Martin-Tap 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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