Two weeks ago I had the opportunity to fly down to New Orleans and speak to a group of oncology nurses on behalf of the Institute for Medical Education and Research (IMER).
The presentation was part of a continuing education program at the Oncology Nurses Society (ONS) 37th annual Congress, May 3rd – 6th. I was part of a three person panel, featuring a pair of excellent oncology nurses: Beth Faiman from the Cleveland Clinic and Page Bertolotti, representing Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.
200 dedicated oncology nurses showed-up at 6 am to participate in our two hour program, titled Practical Navigation of a Changing Landscape: Keeping Current on Multiple Myeloma Treatments.
What dedication! Partying on the French Quarter Thursday night, then getting up in time for an early morning CE program.
But that’s only the half of it. Over 100 nurses also tuned-in using a closed circuit feed…
I wasn’t out Thursday night, that’s for sure–I flew in late That morning. After an organizational meeting, I did have a chance to walk along the river and check-out a few shops, then ordering an excellent Cajun broiled fish meal and heading back to my room to study-up and prepare for my 4 am (OUCH!) wake-up call.
Our presentations went-off without a hitch. I spoke last–for a short 15 minutes. I think it was good for the nurses to hear from a patient. I talked about different side-effects I have endured over the years–both from my myeloma–and the drugs that my doctors have used to control it.
I shared a completely different perspective than I do when I speak to support groups on behalf of the Millennium Pharmaceutical Patient Ambassador Program. This wasn’t as organized. But it was a lot more pointed and real.
My goal: To preach the wisdom of taking a step back and not rushing to transplant. And along the way, I recommended that nurses help patients ignore life expectancy numbers and help them build a health care team.
Mission accomplished! Beth and Page handled the technical content with skill and grace. Then we closed with my gritty description of what it was like to try to live a normal life when your bones are filled with holes and your body pumped-full of ongoing chemotherapy.
After sticking-around to answer a few questions, the three of us retired to a back room to be interviewed by IMER Medical Director Libia Scheller. I was told the interviews will be available online soon. I will feature all three interviews on this site as soon as they become available.
CE programs like this always stress what they call “takeaway points.” My takeaway from the experience?
ONCOLOGY NURSES ROCK!
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat