Heal Through a Remember Tree
We had a problem—we knew it, and we just couldn’t find the right solution. The problem was that we had no time or way to grieve patients' deaths in our outpatient clinic. When a patient would die, some of the staff members would not find out for days or sometimes weeks. This left staff members feeling angry, sad, frustrated, and embarrassed if a family member would call and that staff member did not know about the patient's passing.
April 16, 2015
Crush Constipation With This Old-Time Recipe
Constipation is no fun for anyone, but for patients with cancer this all-too-common side effect is especially troublesome. Oncology nurses need to know how to advise patients when they bring up this somewhat uncomfortable subject.
March 17, 2015
Outpatient Oncology Drug Series: Confidently Administer 5-Fluorouracil
5-Fluorouracil, or most commonly referred to as simply 5-FU, is a cytotoxic chemotherapy drug that is classified as an antimetabolite and, within that class, belongs to the pyrimidine analogue family.
February 23, 2015
Outpatient Oncology Drug Series: Oxaliplatin Hates the Cold
Oxaliplatin is a cytotoxic (toxic to normal cells) chemotherapy drug that is classified as an alkylating agent as well as a platinum analogue. It is indicated for a number of different cancers including colorectal, esophageal, gastric, hepatobiliary, Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, ovarian, pancreatic, and testicular cancer.
January 16, 2015
Educate the Public About Palliative Care
My community hospital serves patients from several, small rural counties and many of the patients that I meet do not have a clear understanding of what palliative care is. Many are afraid of this term and by mentioning it, I have turned the conversation into a negative.
December 23, 2014
Palliative Care Is Not Just for the Dying
As a certified hospice and palliative care nurse, I was grateful to see the joint response from three nursing organizations that embraced the challenges presented in the IOM report, "Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life," and discussed how palliative nursing can address the key recommendations.
December 09, 2014
Reference Tool Helps Nurses Monitor Patients Receiving Oral Oncolytics
As the use of oral oncolytics has increased in cancer care, so has the amount of time oncology nurses spend educating and counseling patients and caregivers on their use. Studies have shown that although it’s challenging for nurses to carve out, the time is well spent.
November 11, 2014
Cancer risk prevention
A Healthy Lifestyle Prevents Cancers
The importance of regular exercise and a healthy diet to maintain a healthy weight should not be underestimated. Healthy habits often need to be fostered. They need to be automatic and practiced consistently. The earlier they are developed, the bigger the benefits.
September 02, 2014
How Do You Separate Your Personal Life From Your Profession When a Loved One Has Cancer?
When a family member or someone close becomes ill, it's hard for nurses to be objective. The problem needs to be fixed now because we have the tools. I think this is one reason why the nursing profession is so hard—we are always on call.
July 11, 2014
Do You Prefer a 12- or 8-Hour Shift?
I recently participated in an online discussion that compared the benefits and disadvantages of the 12-hour shift to the 8-hour shift. Nurses were asked to give their opinions on their preferences for each shift and state their reasons for those preferences.
June 10, 2014
The Case of the Lateral-Limb Lymphedema
Sally is a 62-year-old woman who had a mastectomy for stage IIB left-sided breast cancer. She had preoperative chemotherapy followed by the mastectomy, at which time she also had a prophylactic simple mastectomy of her right breast. She completed postsurgical radiation therapy six months ago and is in for a routine follow-up appointment.
March 18, 2014
What Is Your Level of Genetic and Genomic Competence?
As a child, I was fascinated by Gregor Mendel’s experiments with peas. In those days, dominate or recessive genes were touted as being responsible for eye color and other genetic characteristics passed from parent to offspring. Today we know so much more.
February 07, 2014
We Need to Focus on Being With Our Patients
Recently, I was caring for a patient diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. He was a young man with tattoos and a muscular frame whose strong body was just beginning to fail him. In the course of making my hourly rounds I asked if there was anything he needed that I could provide for him. "I wish you could just tell me I won't die."
February 04, 2014
Make Time for Healthy Eating With These Helpful Tips
It doesn’t take any longer to eat healthy food, but it does take extra planning and time to prepare healthy meals. Over the years I have come up with some time-saving tips and tools that I think you will appreciate.
January 30, 2014
The Case of the Pyrogenic Platelet Product
Jackie is administering six units of pooled random donor platelets to Stuart, a patient with myelodysplastic syndrome. The transfusion was started at 120 ml per hour, per hospital policy. When Jackie rechecked Stuart’s vital signs at 15 minutes, she noted that his temperature had increased from 37.1°C to 38.1°C. In addition, Stuart was chilling. What would you do?
December 17, 2013
The Case of the Mind-Altering Mineral
Hal is a 73-year-old patient with refractory multiple myeloma. Florence, his wife, calls the hematologist’s office and asks to speak with the triage nurse. She says she is worried about her husband and that “he’s just not himself.” What would you do?
November 19, 2013
Telephone Reporting Identifies Symptoms Most Important to Patients
As oncology care continues to move toward delivery in the outpatient setting, the number of patients reporting symptoms by telephone also continues to increase. Unlike face-to-face symptom reporting, telephone reports are initiated by patients or caregivers.
November 12, 2013
The Case of the Severe Sudden-Onset Swelling
Gina is filling in for the triage nurse at her facility’s outpatient solid tumor department. She receives a call from a patient who reports severe swelling in her left arm after returning from a trip on the opposite side of the United States. She says the skin in her arm and hand is quite tight, and that her hand was throbbing when she woke up this morning. What would you do?
October 15, 2013
The Case of the Hyperthermic Hypodermic
Erin arrives in your injection clinic for her monthly injection of fulvestrant. She tells you that her regular nurse always warms the drug before the injection by wrapping it in a warm pack because it lessens the discomfort during the injection. She says her nurse also told her it makes the medication easier to administer. What would you do?
August 20, 2013
The Case of the Suspicious Sunburn
William calls your office complaining of painful redness and blisters on his chest. He admits that during the recent warm weather, he hadn’t been wearing a shirt while working in the yard. He initially thought it was a sunburn, but the symptoms continued to worsen and were unrelieved by typical sunburn remedies. Upon reviewing William’s chart, you see that he recently received radiation and chemotherapy therapy for Hodgkin disease. What would you do?
June 18, 2013
FDA Approves Xofigo for Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer
On May 15, 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved radium Ra 223 dichloride (Xofigo Injection, Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc.) for the treatment of patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer, symptomatic bone metastases, and no known visceral metastatic disease.
May 21, 2013
Ineffective Communication Is a Barrier to Patient Care
I was spoiled with several plane trips in the month of April, which I always enjoy because it allows me some reading time. My recent trip to Boston and its subsequent layovers allowed me time to read ANA’s American Nurse Today and The American Nurse, and ONS’s Clinical Journal of Oncology Nursing. The latter had a great article, "Oncology Nurse Communication Barriers to Patient-Centered Care."
May 13, 2013
The Case of the Compacted Colon
Bob, a 61-year-old man with multiple myeloma, calls his hematologist’s office complaining of worsening constipation despite increasing his fiber and liquid intake. Yesterday, he stopped taking his ondansetron because he remembered that it can cause constipation, but now he’s nauseated in addition to being constipated. What would you do?
May 07, 2013
The Case of the Out of Order Chemotherapy Order
April is caring for a patient with biliary cancer. She receives a new chemotherapy order for cisplatin followed by gemcitabine on days 1 and 8 every three weeks. The standard sequence in April’s hospital is to administer platinum agents last. However, the order clearly states to administer the cisplatin first. What would you do?
April 23, 2013