Patient Education at Eastern
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Education can open many doors for you during your cancer care. The more you understand about your cancer type and what to expect during treatment, the more empowered you may feel. Education can also help you make informed decisions about your treatment.
The Patient Education Department at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center (Eastern) collaborates with the hospital’s clinical departments to provide various educational opportunities throughout your care.
The education team
The education team is comprised of specially-trained nurses. Shannon Bristow leads the department as Director of Quality, Safety, Risk, and Education. Terri Tierney, Education Manager, oversees the daily functions of the department. Sandra Muldrew and Damali Dixon serve as nurse educators.
In addition to the education team, the other nurses at Eastern provide education as well. There are about 60 total nurses in the hospital, including inpatient nurses, Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse, and outpatient nurses.
As education facilitators, Eastern’s education team functions alongside the hospital's clinical departments. Nurse educators work with the individual departments to develop and update training materials.
By working directly with those who have the expertise in a particular area, the team is able to provide specialized education. According to Bristow, the education team interacts most often with the inpatient area, Outpatient Clinic, Infusion Center, and the Nutrition and Metabolic Support Department.
Cancer information can be overwhelming and difficult to comprehend. The education team will present information in terms you can understand so you can feel confident in your treatment decisions.
Eastern’s educational offerings include a range of cancer topics. You may want to learn more about the cancer type you are fighting, what to expect before and after a procedure/ treatment, and/or how to better manage treatment-related side effects.
The following educational classes are held twice a week at the hospital:
- Cancer and You
- Cancer type overviews
- Chemotherapy and You
- TPN education
- PEG tube teaching
- Drug-specific information
- Surgical education (e.g., ports)
- Diabetes and cancer (e.g., self-administration of insulin)
- Cancer Genetics
- Radiation therapy (e.g., PDT)
- Procedures (e.g., colostomy, urostomy)
In addition, Eastern’s CAM departments provide the following educational offerings:
- Nutrition and Metabolic Support Department: Cancer-related nutrition classes
- Naturopathic Medicine Department: Safe and appropriate use of supplements
- Mind-Body Medicine Department: Relaxation group, Reiki course, laughter therapy, Stress Solutions
- Pastoral Care Department: Caregiving, prayers with hymns, Psalms and spiritual songs
The Education Department also provides individualized training sessions. For instance, certified wound-care nurses can provide individualized wound-care education. Our nurses also commonly provide education about PEG tubes and total parenteral nutrition (TPN). In addition, our surgical nurses can provide education for patients with ports, as well as post-op education.
Bristow says the education team will look at your weight, previous treatment history, and other factors to personalize the information you receive. “When you hand someone the information that a drug company has given you, it doesn’t address the patient’s individual needs, and every patient is different. It’s highly individualized here. We develop our education specifically for our patients and their needs,” says Bristow.
In addition, the education team helps educate caregivers as well. “We train the patient’s family members as well. So, when the patient goes home, there is always another member of the family who understands how things work to make them a little more comfortable,” says Bristow.
Opening doors to healing
The education team at Eastern aims to provide you with greater understanding about your cancer type and your treatment plan so you can make decisions that are best for you.
“I really appreciate the patient-centered care here. Here, we don’t have to give patients information that a drug vendor gave us. CTCA allows us to develop patient-specific materials. And, we will literally develop something at a moment’s notice if a patient requests it,” says Bristow.