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Michele Longabaugh is a wife, a mother of three children, a registered nurse and a small business owner in the Midwest. In February 2010, she was diagnosed with stage IV anal cancer. She hopes to shatter the stigma and fight the loneliness that accompanies this devastating type of cancer. Follow her on Twitter at @CrazyAssCancer

Beyond the Standard of Care

I think it's imperative to tell nurses what they are doing right!
With the increasing emphasis on "the standard of care" and customer satisfaction being pushed to the forefront of healthcare delivery, I've been giving plenty of thought lately about how nurses, specifically oncology nurses, have impacted my care in the last five years. I can honestly say I would not be alive today without them. I am not diminishing at all what the doctors do. They have worked a miracle with the treatments they prescribed. But it was an army of oncology nurses that administered those sometimes horrific treatments to me. They fit me for an unspeakable battle. Built on compassion, the care I received was incredible and eclipses any "standard of care" guidelines set for anal cancer patients.

Nurses are the core of oncology care delivery. As encouragers and advocates, they lift us on the darkest days and collaborate with physicians in any request of the supplemental interventions needed. They are a shoulder to cry on or a hand to hold when the administration of oncology care bears a tremendous load. They share in the burden of one of the most frightening diagnoses a person can receive by offering a smile, a tender touch or comforting words. A confidant of tears, fears, joys and secret bucket lists, they discreetly counsel and support. How seriously they take the well being of their charges lives! 

I am compelled to write it here and now! I am a highly satisfied customer. I was given miles above any standard of care. I can call them by name, my oncology nurses, and on rare occasions run into them in public. They know my name too. We embrace on these chance meetings with them always inquiring about my health and well being. They call me a miracle, but I call them mine! In these days and times when people seem quick to complain and tell others when something isn't right, I am calling out oncology nurses for all they are doing right! Please understand that what you do makes an incredible difference! What you do can not be contained within a standard of care...it goes so far beyond that!

Talk about this article with nurses and others in the oncology community in the General Discussions Oncology Nursing News discussion group.
More from Michele Longabaugh, RN
Palliative care is for the living.
PUBLISHED: Tue February 26 2019
My training as a registered nurse helped me as I developed long-distance relationships with several women who have anal cancer--I call them my “virtual sorority sisters.”
PUBLISHED: Thu October 25 2018
A look at how writing is a means of self expression and stress relief for a nurse who is also cancer survivor.
PUBLISHED: Wed May 30 2018
Cancer touches the caregiver as much as the patient, and that position comes with it's own, unique emotional tolls.
PUBLISHED: Thu March 23 2017
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