In Her Own Words: Judy, Radiation Oncology Nurse
Compassionate and experienced radiation oncology nurse Judy Adams shares how she cares for her patients as though they were members of her own family in this video. She talks about her role at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) at Midwestern Regional Medical Center and recalls the first time she met Clair, a prostate cancer survivor who treated at the hospital in northern Illinois:
"When Clair first came in, he was scared, he was searching. He had gotten a terrible diagnosis. When I first met him, I extended my hand and shook his hand, introduced myself and I said, 'I'm going to be your nurse.'
...I spent a lot of time with him. As time went on, you could see his comfort level just relax. We were willing to help him set up housing for when he came to do his treatment and help him work through
what to say to family. How do you tell your kids? How do you relate to your family afterwards? What happens after you're all done with the treatment?"
Judy Adams: My name is Judy, I’m a registered nurse I work at radiation oncology at Cancer Treatment Centers of America. A radiation oncology nurse sees the patients that are under treatment, greets new patients, does the initial contact with new patients starting radiation, and helps triage and takes care of problems that the patients may have. Cancer patients are seeking, searching, their scared, their lonely, their afraid, cancer is a horrible term in today’s society and to be able to come someplace and have somebody that treats you like you’re a unique, special person; that is willing to touch you, willing to give you a hug, willing to spend time with you, makes all the difference in the world; being a number is horrible. When we’re going through a procedure such as brachy therapy I’m at their side, I’m explaining as we’re going. A lot of times I’m holding their hand, sometimes I’m praying with them. I think this philosophy is kind of endemic to CTCA, it’s, it draws people here. Our chairman likes to promote the “Mother Standard”, as in treat every patient as if they are your mother, their your family. When Clair first came in he was scared, he was searching, he had gotten a terrible diagnosis. When I first met him, I extended my hand and shook his hand and introduced myself and I said, “I’m going to by your nurse” and we ran from there. When he came to us he was offered the high dose rate brachy therapy and of course he was troubled because you know there’s not very many places in the country at the time that was doing it and his response was, “tell me everything I need to know”. So I spent a lot of time with him, as time went on your could see his comfort level just relax. We were willing to help him set up housing for when he came to do his treatment, help him work through what do you do about your family. How do you tell your kids? How do you relate to your family? Afterwards you know what happens after you’re all done with the treatment what goes on there? Do you have an albatross hanging around your neck, or is it freedom? I think Clair had excellent results and he comes back to visit and it’s like meeting an old friend. I used to think that working for cancer patients would be a burden and I have found that it is absolutely the opposite of that. It is fulfilling, it gives me purpose to my work life, I don’t feel like I’m just working on an assembly line. I’m making a difference. I’m doing something that’s helping a person through a very difficult time in their lives. When they need somebody to be genuine, and to be honest, and to tell them the truth, and to also be the burse that they need at that time. I can’t think of any other place I’d want to work.