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Why I Am Starting An Integrative Cancer Care Telehealth Practice

As I begin this journey, I am beyond excited and a little nervous. I know that creating anything takes time, dedication and determination, but I have a goal. I have a dream. I have always known that I can always do more.

For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to help people. At first, I didn't know exactly what helping people would look like, but I knew it would be in medicine. I had a calling that I was suppose to do something bigger than myself. But what was I suppose to do??

As I pursued a degree in nursing, I never imagined that my calling would lead me to care for cancer patients. You see, I was able to take pharmacology prior to starting nursing school, and when we got to the section on chemotherapy and side effects.....let's just say that I could not believe what I was learning and what patients had to go through. Now, you do have to remember that this was 25+ years ago. A lot has changed in treatment and management of side effects. Needless to say, I started my first job as a registered nurse on a medical oncology unit, and I fell in love with everything about oncology nursing. I loved the science, the constant learning, but most of all, I loved caring for people who had cancer.

It was working night shifts as a new nurse that I was introduced to the beauty and the devastation of cancer care. The intimate moments when someone was resting for the first time all day due to side effects. The hand holding and conversations about loved ones and life experiences. The rollercoaster of emotion as I saw someone finish chemotherapy and leave the hospital, and then care for the patient who was just told there is nothing more we can do. It was in these moments early in my career that I became solidified in oncology nursing.

I found the Oncology Nursing Society, and learned that I could continue my education, get certified and expand my focus. I became connected locally and nationally. And 10 years after completing my nursing degree, I completed my Master's of Science with a focus on oncology nursing. I thought I had hit the jackpot when I started working as an oncology clinical nurse specialist. Continued learning, process improvement, training nurses, and all of it was with the cancer patient at the center of the focus.

But wait.... I knew there was more, so I completed my post-master's nurse practitioner certificate and have worked as a oncology and survivorship nurse practitioner for the last 7 years. And in this role, I have honed my skills. Focusing on symptom management through treatment, healing into survivorship, and helping patients transition when treatment is no longer an option.

So why make the change to telehealth??

Telehealth gives me an opportunity to work with patient in many different parts of the country.

It gives me the opportunity to meet patients where they are in their treatment or survivorship trajectory.

It allows me to focus on the patients goals for health and healing.

It allows me to practice with an integrative and functional medicine approach that gives patients the best of both worlds. Patients don't have to choose between traditional treatment or nothing. I work with patients who are receiving traditional cancer care to treat their cancer, and I create a plan that works in conjunction with their oncologist to help maximize health while decreasing side effects of treatment.

It allows me to practice to the fullest scope of my practice and in a way that I feel is with the patient at the center of a holistic treatment plan.

I truly look forward to the journey, and I hope this helps you know a little more about me and my desire to help and serve.

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