I feel privileged to be able to work with my patients all the way through their treatment. I see patients at the start, when they may be confused or scared, and I provide them with reassurance through outlining timelines and answering all their questions. Some of the surgeries we perform sound scarier than they are, so I make sure to take time to explain everything to my patients. After surgery, I see the gratitude that my patients have and how happy and thriving they are. To me, that’s the best part of my job.
Surgery is just one aspect of the treatment for my head and neck cancer patients. I always look at a holistic approach to care. I’m monitoring everything together: psychological and emotional effects, nutrition, speech and physical activity. If patients need medical oncology or radiation oncology, I’ll work with a team of providers. It’s a total package for head and neck cancer treatment, and I’m part of a collaborative and multidisciplinary team of providers and specialists that makes sure all of the patient’s needs are met.
Head and Neck cancers
The most common head and neck cancer is squamous cell cancer. We see these patients for five years to monitor them for cancer surveillance. It’s rewarding for me to see these patients from the beginning — before they have gone through treatment, when they are at a very low point — and then post-surgery, when they are doing great and thriving.
When our head and neck cancer patients need surgery, we see them first at SCCA in South Lake Union and then the surgery occurs at UW Medical Center. I am mindful that surgical treatment isn’t just about the procedure: We are treating the psychological and emotional effects of surgery as well. I see the patient as a whole person, because holistic care is important in the treatment of head and neck cancers.
Chamberlain College of Nursing
Grand Canyon University
Nurse Practitioner, 2018
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