REVISED Onco-nurses - Embodiment of Empathetic Cancer Care-01

Onco-nurses – The embodiment of empathetic cancer care

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Onco-nurses – The embodiment of empathetic cancer care

By Gayathri Venugopalan Nair, Chief Nursing Officer, DCCN – Nursing, Karkinos Healthcare

Cancer conditions require a comprehensive and compassionate approach to treatment and care. Nurses, the unsung heroes of our healthcare system, play a crucial role in supporting individuals facing the challenges of cancer. Their services are indispensible at every stage of cancer care, i.e., right from cancer screening to end-of-life care. 

In this blog, we will delve into the intricate world of cancer care from a nurse’s point of view, exploring the holistic approach that goes beyond medical treatments that embrace emotional, psychological, and spiritual aspects of healing.

The Heart of Cancer Care

Onco-nurses act as a bridge between patients and physicians. They would never draw a line in delivering their services at any point of time, considering the requirement of a multi-disciplinary approach in the treatment of cancer. Beyond administering medications and monitoring vital signs, they become the pillars of emotional support for those fighting cancer (be it at any stage). To be more precise, a compassionate onco-nurse recognises the significance of treating the whole person, and not just the disease.

Onco-nurses are mostly registered nurses (RNs) with additional education and training in oncology. This can include certifications, specialized courses, and experience working with cancer patients. Their expertise lies in adopting specific cancer treatment protocols, managing side effects, and navigating patients effectively in an end-to-end cancer care system. 

One of the cornerstones of effective cancer care is the establishment of trusting relationships between nurses and patients. Nurses invest time in getting to know their patients, understanding their fears, hopes, and dreams. This connection fosters a sense of security and comfort, creating an environment where patients feel heard and valued.

We know that effective communication is a powerful tool in cancer care. Most onco-nurses have an inherent communication skill to translate complex medical jargon into understandable language, empowering patients to make informed decisions about their treatment. They act as liaisons between patients, doctors, specialists, and other healthcare professionals to ensure that the healthcare organization offers  seamless care.  

Holistic Approach to Cancer Care:

  1. Emotional Support:

Cancer doesn’t just impact the body; it takes a complete toll on the emotional well-being of patients and also their family. Nurses provide a listening ear, offering empathy and compassion during the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany a cancer diagnosis. They are attuned to the psychological needs of patients, offering support groups, counselling, and resources to help navigate the emotional challenges.

2. Pain Management and Comfort:

Physical discomfort is common in the journey of cancer. Onco-nurses are usually trained in pain management, ensuring that patients experience the highest possible quality of life. From administering pain medications to offering their suggestions to the medical team on alternative therapies, they work tirelessly to alleviate suffering and enhance the overall well-being of those under their care.

Cancer is a stressful and emotional journey. Onco-nurses provide emotional support to patients and their families, addressing fears, anxieties, and offering guidance on coping mechanisms.

3. Patient Education:

An informed patient is an empowered patient. Nurses take on the role of educators, providing comprehensive information about treatment options, potential side effects, and self-care strategies. Through education, they empower patients to actively participate in their care, promoting a sense of control in the face of uncertainty.

In the realm of cancer care, nurses serve as beacons of hope, guiding patients through the challenging landscape of diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Their holistic approach recognizes the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, showing their relentless support that extends far beyond medical interventions. 

As a Chief Onco-Nurse of Karkinos Healthcare, I can assure that in the field of cancer care, onco-nurses are sincerely committed to be involved in early detection and better prognosis of cancer conditions. As a part of the cancer care ecosystem, onco-nurses are determined to bring a profound impact on the lives of those we serve – a testament to the transformative power of compassionate and holistic nursing care.

About Gayathri Venugopalan Nair
Gayathri is Chief of Nursing service & a Quality convener. She has 37 years of experience in different administrative role as core team member in NABH & JCIA accreditation board. At Karkinos Healthcare she is responsible for staff recruitment and in coordinating nursing staff development. She oversees the early detection and cancer screening programmes at Karkinos. 

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