Archived Story

ALMC Cancer Center nurses offer care and caring

Published 12:00am Tuesday, May 6, 2008

By Diane Penning,

Though it is National Nurses Week, the nursing staff at the Albert Lea Medical Center Cancer Center is honored each day of the year by their appreciative patients who see them on a very regular basis. The slogan that hangs on the wall of their office area reads &8220;Caregiving is more than giving care. It is balancing your own needs with those of the one you are caring for&8221; which says it all!

The local medical center has been providing treatment for their patients since the mid-1990s and have been blessed to have some of the most supportive and compassionate nurses, which include registered nurses Beverly Grotsun, Kellie Thompson, Bonnie Maher and Deb Wirth.

Grotsun says that &8220;getting to meet and work with our patients during these difficult times in their life has been a privilege for me.

Seeing their inner strength come through during their treatments makes this a very rewarding experience,&8221; she concluded.

Grotsun has worked with the local cancer center for 15 years, providing services to patients in need of chemotherapy, therapeutic phlebotomies, blood transfusions, and IV hydration, along with her fellow nurses. All four nurses are oncology certified, which lets their patients know that they are being care for by professionals with specialized training and knowledge in oncology care. ALMC is very supportive of the nurses in assisting them to continually learn and challenge themselves through their membership to the national and local Oncology Nurse Society, which keeps the nurses updated on current oncology practices.

&8220;Technology is continually improving medications and helping in managing some of their side effects, which makes it easier for our patients to manage their treatments and lead their day-to-day lives&8221; Thompson explains.

&8220;The chemo nurses are a circle of strength for the families and make a good team,&8221; said Thompson. &8220;Our personalities complement each other and definitely compliment the care that we give to our patients.&8221;

&8220;We have patient&8217;s come in to us with overwhelming diagnoses and they are afraid of the unknown,&8221; Maher explained. &8220;After they have been with us for awhile they become more comfortable, which is also comforting to us.

The number of people being diagnosed with cancer is increasing and it sure makes you appreciate your own health and what you have in life! We get close to our patients and care deeply about them.&8221;

&8220;Cancer is now a treatable and manageable chronic disease rather than a terminal diagnosis,&8221; Maher continued. &8220;The care we provide allows patients to live a longer life and spend quality time with family and friends.&8221;

Cancer Center patient Mike Pfeffer of New Richland, who has been coming for treatments the last 18-months, says he enjoys coming down to Albert Lea &8212; not for the reason that he has to, but for the pleasant comradery of the nursing staff.

&8220;When you first come to the clinic, you don&8217;t know what to expect or what is in store for you,&8221; Mike explains, &8220;but I enjoy the special support offered by the nurses here,&8221; which means a lot to him and his family.

Pfeffer comes in for lab work to monitor his progress and receives therapeutic phlebotomy treatment, as well as other treatment for his condition.