In Her Own Words: Pam, Transplant Coordinator
In this segment, Pam Orsburn talks about her role as a transplant coordinator in the Stem Cell Transplant and Cell Therapy Unit at CTCA at Midwestern Regional Medical Center. A dedicated and compassionate clinician, Pam coordinates testing, answers patients' questions and simply takes care of them like family.
Here, she explains how she helps coordinate the care of patients with blood cancers who receive treatment, including stem cell transplants. She also shares a memory of the first time she met Robbie, a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor.
"The first time I met Robbie, he was quiet, nervous, scared, and full of questions," recalls Pam. "I took a lot time with him. We sat, probably half an hour, and talked before we even started the IV. He was scared; he had another family member that also was diagnosed with cancer and so he was even more scared. We talked a lot and spent a lot of time together."
Pam Orsburn: My name is Pam and I am the Transplant Coordinator here at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America.
People that need transplants, any kind of blood cancers, I help coordinate their care; I coordinate any testing, get everything arranged, insurance approval and get everything setup because it’s a fairly long treatment program.
Being diagnosed with cancer is very scary and most people don’t hear what has been told to them. They need someone to be there to listen to them, to hold their hand if they need their hand held, to explain something to them because they are afraid of it. That’s what I do. I treat them like they were my sister or my brother or my parent, and that goes for everyone.
Even if they are angry when they come in and a lot of people say, “Well, we don’t want that person because they are mean”. You give them time and they understand.
Rob – the first time I met him was quiet, nervous, scared, and full of questions. He took a lot of time and probably half an hour we sat and talked before we even started the IV. He was scared, had another family member that also was diagnosed with cancer and so he was even more scared.
We talked a lot and spent a lot of time together. The relationships that staff have here with patients I think is a very enriching experience for both the staff and the patient, not only does the patient feel more comfortable but it also makes the staff members, I think they feel better being able to be close with people instead of just treating them like a number, a disease or a treatment or one fuzzy feeling.
I think that’s what it is – openness and high spirits and just trying to be happy and warm and caring.