Oncology Nurses Have A Love for Healing

September 26, 2020
Timothy Green

Volume 14,

One patient recounts how his oncology nurse's love for healing helped him on his treatment journey.

My name is Timothy Green. I am 39 years old. When I was a patient in the oncology unit at NewYork-Presbyterian’s Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, I had the privilege of having Nadeen Robinson, M.S.N., RN, OCN, as my nurse. I strongly and wholeheartedly believe that she is deserving of recognition for so many reasons.

I have extreme anxiety, depression and PTSD and now am dealing with a disease in my brain and lymphoma, as well, my doctors believe. In addition, now I am deaf and severely vision impaired. This may sound cliché, but there is just something about Nadeen. In a world where so many are succumbing to mental illness — specifically, suicide — that calm is refreshing to me. To be completely honest, I was scared out of my mind, but there was something about her coming in with that smile and that infectious energy that calmed me and put my mind at ease.

She constantly sought ways to help me improve my ability to communicate with the staff and elevate my vision. Nadeen got me whiteboards, markers and an eraser so I could communicate with the nurses and doctors and know what was going on. She would sit with me and use the whiteboard to tell in detail the plan for the day as she broke down the doctor’s findings.

I know that seems like a normal thing to do for a deaf person; however, it was her action, her time and her intent that made the difference to me. It gave me a sense of security and control in a world where one can easily get lost with full vision and hearing, let alone impaired.

As if that was not enough, Nadeen would excitedly come in each day with a new kind or color of marker with a built-in eraser, decorated board or something else that was fun to make me smile. One day she had a rolling iPad she borrowed from another nursing unit. She was so excited, as if it was something that would benefit her, and that was truly amazing. We used the iPad to connect face-to-face with a hearing-impaired person and use sign language.

I am just learning sign language, as this is all new for me, and though my ability to communicate was limited, her effort made me feel so cared for and that she had my best interest in mind. It made me feel like I mattered in a way that encouraged me to want to be better each day. Her willingness to go above and beyond is as amazing as her bedside demeanor and above anything I have ever encountered.

Nadeen’s attention to detail, willing attitude, knowledge and generosity, both on and off the clock, seem far superior to those of most in the medical field. She has been exceptional at working with me in my time of need to help with both my disability and personal care. She got me out of my room and into the hallways each day to walk around as she had everyone cheer me on, encouraging me to stay independent and not fall victim to my disability.

I was in need of some personal items because I was staying longer than expected, and I didn’t have help because my girlfriend left while I was in the hospital due to her anxiety about all that was happening. Nadeen noticed my struggles and used her own time and money to get my clothes laundered. When you are 6 feet, 3 inches tall and 303 pounds, it’s hard to fit into a hospital bed and even more so the gowns, so you can understand how important it is to have your own clothes. Nadeen added some extra items I needed to help me feel normal throughout my stay in the hospital.

After my discharge, I needed to go to another unit, and Nadeen reached out to the admitting staff there to make sure I did not lose my bed. She assisted me with the entire process until I was in my room because I had no one with me who could help. This was not your everyday act of kindness, and it really means a lot to me that I matter to someone so special.

Health care needs more Nadeens. Her level of care is unmatched, and her endless energy and eagerness to care for her patients go far beyond expectations and the call of duty. She is not just extremely knowledgeable and professional; she has what nursing is all about, taking her oath to heart and beyond. The oncology team is fantastic, but Nadeen is definitely an example for all. I am happy to have met her. I feel like she is not only my nurse but also my dear friend. The love she displays for her job and people in general goes far beyond extraordinary. Nadeen literally changed my life.

I was feeling extreme anxiety and depression when I was in the oncology unit, and deaf is a strange place to be, but Nadeen helped me find peace with who I am and how to cope. I could write all day about how important she is, not just to me but to all the cancer patients, as well as to the hospital itself, based on her quality of work. I am asking with my whole heart and soul for you to consider her for this award, because she sets the gold standard for nursing and is the glue that holds her unit together.

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