Accountable Healthcare - An Oncology Nurse’s ‘Tremendous Impact on My Quality of Life’
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July 16, 2021

An Oncology Nurse’s ‘Tremendous Impact on My Quality of Life’

 A patient with lung cancer details her experience with her certified registered nurse practitioner who has been her guiding light even when she feels guilty about smoking for so long.

Maggie DeRosa, M.S.N., B.S.N., FNP-BC, has been my certified registered nurse practitioner since the onset of my cancer diagnosis back in February 2018, when I was predicted to only live another six months. I knew from my very first orientation appointment with Maggie — when I was scared to death and reassured by a hug and encouraging words — I was in the hands of a compassionate, dedicated caring soul. Maggie has shown me the greatest of respect, talking me down from some very depressing and self-sabotaging thoughts, as I have been a smoker for 40-plus years and blame myself for my cancer, rightfully so. Maggie consistently reassumes me that we have come a long way with lung cancer, and that I am strong and can beat this disease.

I have never had a doctor or nurse listen to me with such caring resolve. If Maggie does not have the answer, she does have the humbleness to tell me that and reassure me she will find out. On every single occasion, she has done just that. She has never left me hanging. That is award worthy, given the sheer volume of patients she must see daily. There has never been a time when I have seen Maggie that I was not greeted with a smile and a hug. When Maggie walks into the room, she is already aware of any past problems I may have had prior to my appointment. That is huge for a patient with cancer, especially so I don’t have to relive whatever horrible medical event I may have went through within the month. Maggie's calm, caring, loving spirit has had a tremendous impact on my quality of life since receiving this diagnosis. For that, I am eternally grateful.

Every month, whether seeing Maggie or the doctor or just there for infusions and lab work, Maggie will spot me, stop what she is doing and give me a big hug. That to a patient with cancer really does mean the world. I cannot image how Maggie is able to keep a smile on her face given all the terminal cases and tragedies she must be dealing with daily. She is always cheerful. She makes time to ensure that her patients know she recognizes them and gives them that special treatment that makes you feel as though someone really does care.

I simply cannot image undergoing all that I have been through without her by my side. Regardless of who wins this award, Maggie is already a winner in my book. Thank God for my Maggie.

Essay by: Theresa Ferguson for the 2021 Extraordinary Healer Award