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Why We Love Nurses (And You Should Too!)

By The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society | May 25, 2024
Nurse Sloane and her colleagues posing with a patient

It makes sense that at diagnosis and throughout treatment, someone diagnosed with a blood cancer will look around them for answers or support.  

Family and friends can offer a lot of social and emotional encouragement. Other patients within the blood cancer community can share feelings and advice. Doctors can give medical knowledge and understanding.  

Nurses can do it all. 

We often meet our nurses by chance, and they can sometimes make the difference we didn't know we needed—showing up day and night. They work tirelessly to make appointments (and everything in between) easier, including:  

  • Helping with patients’ meals, medications, and hygiene  
  • Facilitating tough procedures and treatment days  
  • Assisting doctors as they monitor and treat patients  
  • Supporting patients and their families through emotional challenges 

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.  

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is fortunate to have many experienced, compassionate nurses ready to support blood cancer patients, from diagnosis and every step after. One of them is Sloane Cammock, CPNP, a Clinical Trial Nurse Navigator.  

We asked Sloane about her path to becoming a nurse, why nursing is so important, her day-to-day experiences with patients, and more. 

Meet Sloane: Nurse Navigator, patients’ champion 

 

Sloane Cammock, CPNP Headshot

Q: What drew you to becoming a nurse?  

A: I have wanted to be a nurse for as long as I can remember. When I was asked in fifth grade what I wanted to be when I grew up, I said, “I want to be a pediatric nurse.” When I was young, I had the opportunity to watch my grandma practice as a nurse. It was remarkable to me that she was able to do so many different things and touch so many lives. This, and watching nurses care for my aging great-grandmother, propelled my interest.   

Fulfilling this dream is something I will never take for granted. Being able to have a lasting impact on patients and their families and provide them with support is an amazing experience. 

  

Q: What role do nurses play in treating a patient? What needs do you help fill?  

A: Nurses are often primary caregivers of patients. We not only address patients' physical needs but also provide emotional support for patients and their families. Nurses spend time learning about their patients and really developing those relationships, learning how to provide them with truly individualized care. We fill many roles and work hard to build the necessary skills to meet the demands placed upon us. Nurses truly make a difference to our patients every day, and often, we are one of the most valuable members of a patient’s care team. 

  

Q: What does a typical day look like for you as a Nurse Navigator, and what’s important about your work? 

A: As a Nurse Navigator with LLS’s Clinical Trial Support Center (CTSC), I work with patients and caregivers to complete a nursing assessment that focuses on anything that might interfere with a patient’s access to clinical trials. I can then determine if a clinical trial could be a good option for them, conduct a clinical trial search, and assist them with navigating the clinical trial process. My main goal is to empower patients to make informed treatment decisions with their healthcare team by arming them with information. 

The CTSC is so important because we provide a truly individualized assessment and list of potential clinical trial options. We utilize resources inside and outside of LLS to overcome patients’ barriers to enrollment. It’s important to consider this: overall enrollment rate for cancer clinical trials is somewhere between 5 to 10 percent, but when patients connect with the CTSC, 23 percent of eligible patients enroll in a clinical trial. 

  

Q: Have you had any interactions with patients or caregivers that were particularly meaningful or have stayed with you? 

A: Having the opportunity to help develop the CAR T-cell therapy program at my previous institution was something I will be forever thankful for. Being there to treat the first pediatric patient and to see firsthand how grateful he and his family were for this treatment option was remarkable. I continue to connect with that family five years later; and their son, a truly amazing young man that left a lasting impact on all those who knew him, is someone I am forever fortunate to have known and to have supported. 

Sloane with colleagues

Thank you, nurses  

Nurses like Sloane help patients with blood cancer (and many other conditions) feel their best—even in some of their toughest moments. And the nurses who work within the LLS community are ready to offer a guiding hand. 

For all of this and more, we want to say: Thank you, nurses. You fill in wherever needed, often work long hours, and selflessly serve others. And when we are our most vulnerable, you encourage us and give us strength. 

If you or a loved one are facing a blood cancer diagnosis, consider reaching out to our Information Specialists, a team of highly trained oncology social workers and nurses, who assist through treatment, financial, and social challenges associated with blood cancer.