Pamela Christman has been a nurse for 35 years, and an oncology nurse for 25. Before going to work at the Smilow Cancer Care Center in North Haven as an infusion nurse, Pamela worked as a practice nurse at The Breast Center at Smilow Cancer Hospital. She now sees patients with all different types of cancer, and helps support them through their treatment.
When a patient calls complaining of side effects, Pamela triages the call and checks with their physician to make sure the proper steps are taken that are in line with their treatment plan. At the Smilow Care Center in North Haven, they see about 20 patients a day who are receiving chemotherapy and they work as a team to make sure all patients are taken care of and receive quality care. They act as a support system and help with symptom management to ensure the highest quality of life.
"When they hear I work in oncology, a lot of people say that it must be so difficult. But in reality it is very rewarding. When I am able to sit down with a new patient and explain to them what to expect, what to watch out for, and that this is not the same treatment their parents are grandparents received, it is a very good feeling. Side effects are better managed with new drugs and the new targeted therapies often don't even cause nausea or low blood counts," said Pamela. "I am able to offer words of encouragement so that they go into treatment thinking, I can do this."
Pamela explained that she and the other nurses she works with are there to help patients through this stage in their life, and help them manage side effects and symptoms as they move forward. Diane Corjulo, Clinical Program Manager for the Smilow Cancer Hospital Care Centers, commented, "Pamela is a true patient advocate, who consistently demonstrates her dedication to patient and family centered care."