Involve the Palliative Care Team Early to Minimize Symptom Impact
Patients with cancer experience many feelings: they’re frightened and they’re hopeful, but mostly they’re in a new world. Symptoms associated with cancer and its treatment are taxing on patients’ physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. In some cases, cancer-related symptoms and side effects are so debilitating that providers struggle to manage them just to get patients to a point where they can continue their treatment. Oncology nurses can lead the interprofessional care team to work together to proactively manage symptoms to ensure patients can endure treatment and come out as themselves on the other side. Proper symptom management doesn’t just promote quality of life but the best possible chance for patient survival.
How Can Oncology and ICU Nurses Work Together to Treat Critically Ill Patients With Cancer?
Nurses in the intensive care unit (ICU) generally see patients with cancer only when they are extremely sick—not throughout the extensive cancer journey they go through before they get to the ICU. Educating and familiarizing ourselves, as ICU nurses, with a patient’s oncology plan, goals, and history can improve overall care. Learning at which points in the process of cancer treatment certain issues are more likely to arise, such as tumor lysis syndrome during high-dose induction, when a patient is most likely to be neutropenic during a stem cell transplant, and other general facts about oncology, can help improve the care we give. It helps us understand our patients as a whole. The oncology population is a huge part of medical intensive care, and encouraging critical care nurses and oncology nurses to collaborate can help improve the continuity of care and eliminate errors in the ICU.
Critical Care for Patients With Cancer
Five to Ten Percent of patients with cancer will need to visit the intensive care unit (ICU) for a life-threatening condition. In fact, estimates suggest that nearly 30% of patients with esophageal cancer or acute leukemia and those undergoing allogenic stem cell transplantation will need ICU care.
Leadership Strategies for Nursing Excellence
The triple aim of healthcare is patient satisfaction, quality outcomes, and decreased costs. Navigation is the key to effective care delivery, said Regina Cunningham, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, chief executive officer of the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, during the Endnote Session at the Oncology Nurse Advisor Navigation Summit.
Handoff Tool Promotes Nurse-to-Nurse Communication to Avoid Patient Adverse Events
RuthAnn Gordon, MSN,FNP-BC, OCN®, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, and co-authors presented the findings during a poster session at the ONS 42nd Annual Congress in Denver, CO. The poster was titled “Utilizing Nurse to Nurse Handoff Communication to Manage Immune Related Adverse Events in an Outpatient Immunotherapy Clinic.”
Improved Nurse and Pharmacist Communications Optimizes the Medication Use Process
Judy Ranous, BSN, RN, OCN®, from the Froedtert Hospital in Wisconsin, and coauthors presented their poster entitled “Design and Implementation of an Oncology and Pharmacy Nursing Committee to Optimize Interdisciplinary Communication and Patient Safety” at the 42nd Annual ONS Congress in Denver, CO.
The Impact of Comorbidities on Patient Care
More than ever before, oncology nurses are required to provide multifaceted care when it comes to managing patients with cancer. As the population of patients with cancer continues to age and cancer becomes more of a chronic condition, oncology nurses are seeing more patients who exhibit comorbidities during their cancer journey.