When an Oncology Nurse is ‘Created to be a Healer’

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

An oncologist notes how her practice nurse implements her personal experience with loss from cancer towards her care of patients currently receiving cancer treatment.

Timra Walsh, B.S.N., RN, OCN, is my practice nurse at Northwell Health Cancer Institute at Lake Success, New York. Our very busy practice cares for patients with head and neck cancer and thoracic malignancies. Timra has had decades of experience, and I am truly fortunate to have her on my team. Timra is an epitome of perfection, compassion and nursing excellence. She is extremely reliable and competent, and I always completely trust her medical knowledge and gut instincts.She comes in eager to work, stays late and works throughout the day tirelessly while maintaining the same efficiency and perfection.

Timra has lost several of her very close friends to cancer. She knows what it is to be on the other side of the table. A lot of times, I muse over the thought that she was created to be a healer. Her compassion to patients and their family members makes her go beyond her means to help them. As an example, one of our patients with very limited social support was rendered blind and hearing-impaired by nasopharyngeal cancer that extended intracranially. She was unfortunately unable to get admitted to any nursing or hospice facilities due to many logistical barriers. With the patient's permission, Timra tirelessly reached out to each one of her contacts and was able to get a very favorable living arrangement for our patient who died peacefully with hospice services on board. I can write hundreds of other examples and quote a multitude of patient testimonials here, but I know my space is limited. But I will say this: every patient and their family cared for in our practice know that Timra has their back from the first day they enter our practice — which is when they first meet her — to forever and beyond.

Timra is very meticulous about maintaining records. She has a carefully organized folder where we can easily find every detail that is necessary for optimal patient care. In addition, she knows everyone at the Northwell Health Cancer Institute and is very knowledgeable about the resources available in the community.

Over the five years that I have known her, Timra has held multiple leadership roles including Nurse Coordinator for Faculty Practice and has been involved in onboarding of new faculty nurses. She has won accolades from fellows and physicians and was just conferred the coveted 2020 Daisy Award for nursing excellence' in 2020. She is an active member of the Oncology Nursing Society.

In summary, we are blessed to have Timra with us, and I truly wish that she wins the Extraordinary Healer® Award.

Editor’s Note: This is an essay submitted by Dr. Nagashree Seetharamu 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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