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Eileen Dehm, RN, BSN, NP 8

When Eileen Dehm, RN, BSN, joined the team on NP 8 as Smilow Cancer Hospital first opened, she brought with her over 30 years of nursing experience, 20 of which were spent caring for patients with cancer. She entered into a newly created position, Oncology Nurse Coordinator for the Melanoma and Renal Cell Carcinoma Disease Team. In this role, Eileen serves as a navigator, educator, and advocate for patients and their families.

"When a patient is first diagnosed, they are faced with a complex journey ahead. They meet with surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, and other specialists, sometimes all in one day," said Eileen. "It is a lot to take in and can be overwhelming and stressful. The Oncology Nurse Coordinator focuses on synchronizing patient/family care across the varied care settings, ensuring that the patient/family have appropriate information, understand and have the capacity to adhere to the medical plan."

Eileen commented that the majority of patients she works with are enrolled in a clinical trial. She coordinates with the Clinical Trials Office to make sure the scheduling is appropriate for the patients and that the patient/family knows when, what and who to call to report side effects. Early intervention in managing side effects is essential for all treatment patients. Eileen also communicates closely with other major cancer centers throughout the country so that if there is a trial that is not available at Smilow, patients can be referred to a center where it is, and vice versa.

"I have personally gained a lot working with cancer patients. Their outlook on life when faced with this difficult diagnosis is inspiring. It has made me wiser and more connected in my own life," said Eileen. "I want patients to know we are here for them. Anything they need, our team is willing to provide if able, or we will seek to find the resources to help them."

Working closely with the treating oncologist is another important aspect of Eileen's job. Dr. Harriet Kluger, Associate Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology), sees patients with melanoma and commented, "When it comes to patient care, no task is too hard, too easy, or too unpleasant for Eileen. She is an outstanding patient advocate and a wonderful team player. We are so blessed to have Eileen in our unit."