Late Night Emails to Guide the Delivery of Quality Care

Extraordinary Healer®Extraordinary Healer® Vol. 15
Volume 15

A nurse practitioner strives to provide tailored care to children with cancer and their families when they are receiving treatment and supportive services.

It's late Friday night on a holiday weekend and I receive an email from Angela Snyder, D.N.P., PPCNP-BC, CHPPN, with a detailed summary of how we can best care for the psychosocial and physical needs of a family coming to the department of blood and marrow transplant. It is painstakingly obvious that she has courageously gone deep with the family to understand what compassionate care means for them. She then communicates this information and blueprint of care back to the oncology care team to implement. This email is an example — not a one-off — of how each child and their family gets known so we can tailor care to their needs.

She is a nurse practitioner within our Pediatric Palliative Care Service and embedded within the transplant service line. It is no surprise that this service is called “Quality of Life for All” and represented by a huggable koala. The Quality of Life for All team’s mission is to sit with you, listen to you and find ways to make each day a little better for you and your child while your child undergoes treatment for cancer. Angela embodies this mission with her commitment and excellent care at the bedside and in the clinic. She goes the extra mile to meet the needs of support for the child and family so they can smile, laugh and find joy during their therapeutic journey. Angela works with many families that can reach cure, but her days are often filled with helping children and families wrestling with life without cure.

Angela serves on the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for Nursing at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She is gifted at cultural competence within the subspecialty of palliative care conversations and advocates for inclusion and equity in care daily. Frequently, she utilizes these exceptional skills to provide care with cultural humility. When a family needs an advocate for cultures issues, she is a voice for them. Recently, she was part of the bridge to help facilitate understanding between a family and staff during the end of a patient's life. Her advocacy helped usher in understand, which led to an improved relationship.

In addition, Angela is the co-chair of the Research Council for Nursing. This council provides guidance and mentorship to nurses pursing evidence-based research projects at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. Angela is currently on a research team evaluating the use of practicing, giving and receiving unsolicited compliments to improve the working environment for nurses and advance practice providers working in pediatric stem cell transplant. These compliments are based on a concept called “firgun,” which is an informal modern Hebrew term described as genuine, unselfish delight or pride in the accomplishments of other. The goal is to reduce burnout amongst nurses and advance practice providers within the service line.

It is my honor to nominate Angela for her exceptional care of pediatric oncology patients and their families.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Suzette Stone, PhD, 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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