Guest post: The unsung heroes of AAMC

Guest post: The unsung heroes of AAMC

Today’s guest post comes from a patient advisor who recently underwent treatment for cancer at Anne Arundel Medical Center.

I am deeply grateful for the wonderful care that I’ve received from the oncology nurses at the infusion center at AAMC. I’ve spent a lot of time at the infusion center since early May – either to receive chemotherapy infusions or hydration. As a result, I’ve been treated by a lot of the nurses and I think these nurses are amazing! The bottom line is that not only do they take good care of you medically, they also manage to make you feel cared about as a person.

From a purely medical perspective, I’ve been impressed by the nurses’ professionalism. They clearly explained the infusions that you’re receiving and what to expect and how to deal with the side effects. They helped me to understand how the on-body Neulasta injection worked so that I knew what to expect. And they patiently answered my numerous questions, sometimes having to answer the same one more than once, particularly when chemo-brain set in!

I was equally impressed, if not more, with the way the nurses made us (the patients) feel important and as if we mattered. We came in expecting to receive good medical care, but I think that the way that the nurses nurtured us was just as instrumental in the healing process as the medical care.

When I was in the waiting room, I often looked around me and I observed patients who looked tired and weary. And many also appeared anxious. When a nurse came out to the waiting room and called a name, somehow, the nurses always seemed upbeat and happy to see you no matter how tired they were. I watched as they touched the arm or shoulder of their patient and asked them how they’re doing today, conveying genuine warmth. And it was truly moving to watch as that weary patient stood up a little taller and looked a little brighter – like a flower opening up in the sun.

I know that the nurses are people just like us. They have busy lives with their own problems and challenges. And some of them even have their own illnesses to cope with. They work long days at a very difficult job. And yet, they don’t seem to let that stand in the way of taking care of their patients with kindness and love. No matter how tired those nurses may have felt, they always seemed to be able to hide it from us and treat us with tenderness and compassion. And they listened patiently as we talked to them about our challenges, sometimes offering suggestions, but always listening! I don’t know how they do it day after day! But I deeply appreciate it and will never forget it.

I know it made a big difference for me. Dealing with the side effects of chemotherapy can be discouraging and wearing. When I was first diagnosed with cancer, I was worried that I would be treated as a “disease”, not a person; but that hasn’t happened. While the nurses first priority is to treat our diseases, they still manage to make me feel that I matter as a person. Being on the receiving end of this kind of care has fed my soul and has helped me to be a little stronger and more positive. And it has helped me face each day with more hope.

I was originally diagnosed in 2012 and I’ve experienced both in-patient chemo in 2012 and outpatient chemo in the infusion center this year. I will be forever grateful for the tender care that I have received from all of the oncology nurses at Arundel Medical. Even though these nurses don’t know you, they seem to genuinely care. We receive their love and care simply because we are one of their patients. I believe that it’s a small glimpse of what God’s love is like. And as a result, they have made a difficult journey just a little easier.

A very grateful,
Charlene VanMeter


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