COVID-19 pandemic has been impacting the health of so many patients. Some are more vulnerable than others. It has been a very scary time for all of us with this pandemic but especially for those who tend to have a higher risk of infection. Many of these patients include older adults, those with chronic illnesses and cancer. I was able to have the opportunity to speak with one of the nurses working in an outpatient cancer center to learn more about how they are managing patient care during this pandemic.
Christina: Which hospital do you work for?
Sarah: I currently work at Mass General Hospital (MGH) in the outpatient cancer center.
Christina: How long have you been working here?
Sarah: I have been working at MGH for about 2 years.
Christina: What is your favorite part of your job?
Sarah: My favorite part is taking care of my patients, educating them, and supporting them throughout their treatments.
Christina: What is the most challenging part of your job?
Sarah: The most challenging part of my job is seeing patients relapse and in some cases when the cancer progresses and I will need to refer the patient to hospice.
Christina: How has COVID-19 impacted your work?
Sarah: Since COVID-19 hit, our clinical site has placed new policies and procedures to maintain the safety of staff and patients.
Christina: What kind of changes have you made to be able to accommodate your patients?
Sarah: We have been pre-screening patients on the phone the day before and day of their appointments by taking patients’ temperatures. We have a viral triage pager to alert someone if they screen positive. We have also opened a clinic space so we can accommodate patients who are COVID-19 positive and still need to come in and see their providers.
Christina: Is there anything else you would like people to know?
Sarah: Stay home wash your hands, don’t touch your face and STOP WEARING GLOVES.
It was so great to learn how this outpatient cancer center is working hard to protect this vulnerable population. Cancer on its own is a very difficult diagnosis that many loved ones are currently fighting against and adding COVID-19 to the mix doesn’t help with easing their fears. I hope bringing attention to how things are being managed in various settings can help ease the stress and anxiety related to this situation we are currently in. I find that everyone is working so hard in their jobs to prevent infection and maintaining the safety of others. It really is amazing what we can do if we all work together as a community to keep ourselves safe and healthy!
**Some names and identifying details have been changed to protect privacy of individuals.**
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