Making the Connections: My Nurse's Proactive Approach to Treatment

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

An essay honoring Emily A. Knight, RN, OCN [Mayo Clinic Cancer Center in Scottsdale, Arizona]




Emily is a great oncology nurse from a patient’s viewpoint. As one of her patients, I have known and interfaced with Emily for several years now with my chronic blood cancer, myelofibrosis. Emily works for a director of Hematology/Oncology at the Mayo Clinic (Ruben A. Mesa, MD, FACP), and provides me (as she does for so many other patients) a key interface for my visits with my hematologist. These include information/explanation of doctor’s orders, prescription drug orders, and proper usage and side effects of my prescription drugs. She provides me the needed lab orders for my ongoing monitoring of my various blood counts and blood chemistry.

Because I have a serious blood cancer and rely on experts at a major medical center (Mayo Clinic) in another part of the country for my treatment strategy, this requires some unique interfacing since it is not local. Emily successfully provides me with the ability to access expert help and care, which happens to operate from a remote location, as if it was around the block from me. She utilizes the latest technology in the digital world to connect with me at a nearly real-time rate.

For example, Emily receives results electronically within hours of my blood work being drawn and processed at a local lab. My lab work varies in frequency between every two to four weeks, year round. The frequency is dependent on where I am in treatment and control of my counts. She reviews my labs with my hematologist, and sends me an email after each CBC lab to verify the evaluation of my counts and what action, if any, needs to be taken. She encourages contacting her if I have any questions about such reviews, or at any other time between my onsite visits with my hematologist. Emily is so on top of my lab work and her expecting to see scheduled results that if I am on vacation, or for some other reason have missed my planned scheduled CBC lab work by more than a few days, she will contact me to verify that I am okay and to find out what is happening when she has not seen my labs. From this one example of her incredible involvement, I know that she is a nurse who is truly proactive, not reactive, in my care. Not only is Emily terrific in her commitment to monitoring me continuously, but she is always approachable if I ever have any questions or concerns. I have frequently used emails to write to her with questions about my health, self-observations, or other patient concerns. She always is very prompt in acknowledging and replying to my emails, typically responding in less than a working day, often less than an hour. This is better or more prompt service than most patients have with a local nurse or doctor’s office.

Emily is also very involved in providing education about disease process regarding the myeloid blood cancers. Her involvement includes online videos and being a speaker at patient forums. She has done much work in the myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) community as a judge in the “MPN Heroes” program, which recognizes those who make significant differences in the lives of the patients with MPN and the larger MPN community.

Emily is unique in that she provides the necessary knowledge, support, information and accessibility to not just me, but to so many Mayo Clinic patients with blood cancer. She is a great RN to work with at my periodic hematology appointments, working one on one. She also utilizes the digital world to connect with hundreds or even thousands of patients with blood cancer, and provides each of them a personal experience that extends beyond a physical visit. By providing expert access to major medical professionals to finding the needed answers, she supports patients with their issues on health and treatment to resolve any of their questions or concerns.

Emily is truly one of a kind! She not only cares for patients during their onsite visits but she extends the contact via the digital world. She enriches patients’, caregivers’ and families’ knowledge by promoting online videos and access to her in forums, as well.

I am proud to tell my friends and neighbors — and the world — of my positive experience with Emily Knight!

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