Starting Early and Staying Late: Dedication to Patients With Cancer

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

An Extraordinary Healer essay honoring Kim-Chi Pham, RN, OCN [Harris Health System – Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital in Houston, Texas]

Kim-Chi Pham, RN, OCN (left) with Donna McKee, RN, BSN, MHA-CNE PHOTO BY DIVYA PANDE

Kim-Chi Pham, RN, OCN (left) with Donna McKee, RN, BSN, MHA-CNE PHOTO BY DIVYA PANDE

Kim-Chi Pham, RN, OCN (left) with Donna McKee, RN, BSN, MHA-CNE PHOTO BY DIVYA PANDE

Oncology is one of the most challenging and rewarding fields in nursing. Being diagnosed with cancer can be a devastating experience for patients and their family members. Nursing care is not only based on the physiological needs, but also addresses the social, emotional and spiritual needs of the patient and family.

Kim-Chi Pham exhibits compassion, expertise and helpfulness in all that she does for patients with cancer. She works in the Outpatient Infusion Center, and is always striving to ensure access to quality, affordable healthcare for the uninsured and underinsured residents of Harris County. Kim-Chi has been with this department for the past 17 years and with the organization for 30 years. She is an amazing asset to this department, and demonstrates core values such as trust, respect, excellence, integrity and commitment.

Kim-Chi always wears a smile, and “no” is not a part of her vocabulary. One physician made the comment, “How many times have I added on an extra patient to the schedule? She stays late and then starts again early. This she does with happiness. If somebody needs treatment, she will accommodate.”

Kim-Chi readily assists anyone needing Vietnamese translation, whether it is in the infusion center or in one of the clinics. She has the attitude that she is going to do what is best for our patients even if it means more work for her. She often adapts her work schedule to meet the needs of the patients she serves. Kim-Chi is referred to as “an angel” by her patients. One patient sent her a card that read: “Thanks for everything that you do to help me with these treatments. Thanks for being my guardian angel. I am forever grateful.” Another patient calls her “awesome” and has asked if he can have her as his nurse every time he comes in. I have witnessed Kim-Chi buying food for a patient who was hungry and had no money. She has paid for medication many times for patients who could not afford their prescriptions.

One of our programs recognizes Harris Health System staff and physicians who exemplify “Service FIRST” standards of behavior: Friendliness, Integrity, Responsibility, Satisfaction and Teamwork, and honors them as “Champions of the Quarter.” Kim-Chi has most recently been named Champion of the Quarter here at LBJ.

She receives many verbal and written commendations from her patients. “Kim Chi Pham of the Infusion Center at LBJ Hospital is for me one of the most thoughtful and kindest nurses with great devotion that I have met, and who has cared for me during these almost two years of having this disease.” Another commendation read: “Nurse Kim was our first nurse for chemo. We were both very unsettled about the whole process, but Kim was a godsend. She made my granddaughter feel really safe and that she would take great care of her, and that was what she did. I just want to thank you, Kim!”

Knowledge is a key ingredient to providing an optimal environment for patient care. Kim- Chi has worked to build her skills and knowledge in oncology so that she can provide the highest quality care to our patients, recently receiving her ANCC certification in Oncology Nursing. Kim-Chi is often recognized by the physicians as a nurse who provides valuable perspectives on the patients and their treatment regimens. She once had a patient who had an adverse reaction and had to be moved to the emergency room on a Friday evening. She was so concerned for this patient that she returned to the hospital early that Saturday (her day off) and worked with the emergency room physicians to identify the drug that caused the adverse event.

Compassion, affection and dedication are words that come to mind when describing Kim-Chi. She strives to ensure that she is providing an environment that is comforting, kind and uplifting. In everything she does, she gives her time and her interest, but most of all she gives of herself.