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The care received by our patients (with cancer) has been described as “exemplary,” an incredible achievement for an infusion center that was a revolving door for short-term travel nurses with little-to-no full-time staff to provide the continuity of care that oncology nurses are well-known and admired for.
As the director of clinical education and professional practice and the oncology clinical nurse specialist at Providence Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California, I am respectfully nominating Tuesday Crews, B.S.N., RN, OCN, for the Extraordinary Healer® Award.
Tuesday is the clinical supervisor for our infusion center and was pivotal in turning an underperforming department around and improving the quality of services provided in the middle of a complete renovation of the facility that was complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is incredibly amazing to witness Tuesday successfully navigate her role as clinical supervisor despite the challenges that were stacked against her. She persisted, which is why I am writing this letter of nomination in recognition of her outstanding efforts as an oncology nurse leader in our ministry.
Tuesday developed and implemented a restructured outpatient infusion scheduling system that has exceeded standards and expectations of our medical providers and the patients we serve. She effectively enhanced the services offered at the infusion center and has set the standards for Crews’ crew, a corps of stable full-time staff that we thought was far beyond the organization’s reach prior to hiring Tuesday.
The care received by our patients has been described as “exemplary,” an incredible achievement for an infusion center that was a revolving door for short-term travel nurses with little-to-no full-time staff to provide the continuity of care that oncology nurses are well-known and admired for.
Tuesday did not see the temporary location of the infusion center (due to reconstruction) as an excuse to keep our oncology RN fellows from completing their practicum on site. We previously sent RN fellows to our sister ministry when our infusion center was staffed by traveler RNs. As soon as Tuesday was able to secure a stable full-time team, she did not hesitate to say yes to training two cohorts of oncology fellows.
Tuesday also provided opportunity for our new graduate residents to access ports, an opportunity that we couldn’t have offered prior to Tuesday taking the helm.
Tuesday is not only the clinical supervisor; she is also a frontline worker who is able to perform tasks that she expects from her direct reports. She has created a culture of compassion in the workplace. Although compassion is often thought of as concern for the welfare of others, particularly toward patients in a health care setting, Tuesday treats all her colleagues with compassion and thus has been an inspiration to many of us — myself included — because of her kindness, flexibility, support and empowerment.
We had a patient with a nonfunctional port in the thoracic outpatient clinic. After multiple failed attempts at restoring port patency, I consulted with Tuesday. Tuesday’s clinic was full, yet, instead of asking questions and giving me recommendations, she handed off her infusion patients to her colleagues and walked over to the thoracic clinic with me to evaluate the port. It took her a few attempts to obtain blood return from the port. If it sounds like a common occurrence on any oncology setting, it was not.
The patient had been referred to the thoracic clinic from another infusion center, the port was initially accessed and manipulated by a surgical fellow and then by the attending physician before I was called and before Tuesday resolved the problem. Without missing a beat, Tuesday also addressed the family’s anxiety and provided a comprehensive patient education for self-care management of ports. This is just one of the stories of how Tuesday will not stop until she gets the job done.
Tuesday collaborated with staff from other departments on projects that will benefit the patients with cancer who walk through the doors of Saint John’s. She stepped up to help implement the “zone tool” for oncology, an evidence-based practice project from a sister ministry that was created to assist patients in managing a number of common treatment-related symptoms with the goals of improving clinical outcomes and helping reduce the chances of hospital readmission.
She also stepped up to spearhead the development of structures and processes that will support clinical trials that evaluate COVID-19 therapeutics that will be infused in an outpatient infusion center. Tuesday knew how important clinical trials were and came to the table with a positive attitude, asking what we can do and how can we do it safely.
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