A Radiation Oncology Nurse at Southwest General Health Center, Anaida Zinicola, RN, reflects on her professional journey and shares insights about she collaborates with others to support patients with cancer.
Throughout nursing school, my plan was to graduate and pursue a career in maternity--labor and delivery to be exact. At the time, I was able to find a patient care assistant position at Southwest General Hospital on the medical oncology unit, 3 West. It was not my first choice, but I told myself I would stay until a position opened up on the maternity floor; I never left. I went on to work in the ambulatory care center as an infusion nurse for many years. Most recently, I am a nurse partner in the radiation oncology department. I became involved in the Quality Improvement Committee for our Cancer Center and worked on many projects to better patient outcomes and improve nursing education when caring for the cancer patient. I never expected to find that oncology nursing provided challenges along with the rewards when you are part of a patient's cancer journey and can help them through the difficulties they may face.
My role in radiation oncology is to work to help patients manage toxicities related to radiation therapy, and to coordinate care with other departments such as medical oncology, palliative care, nutrition services, speech therapy and social work to provide education and support for patients throughout their treatments.
Radiation oncology nursing must definitely be done with a team approach. We as a department provide comfort, education, support, laughter, and sometimes tears helping patients to the finish line. I work with wonderful team members whom I admire and who keep me passionate and enthusiastic about coming into work each day.