The nursing and specialty staff are dedicated to enhancing the lives of our patients and their families.
Beyond providing exceptional care, team members strive to ensure children can still be kids while dealing with the very adult issues of cancer by providing compassionate care, patient education and family support throughout treatment.
Patients and families meet a lot of different medical staff throughout treatment. This guide can be helpful while getting to know all of the members of your child’s health care team.
Doctors and Surgeons
The doctors and surgeons who work with patients at CHOC are experts in treating children. Each child who is diagnosed with cancer is placed with a special cancer treatment program team led by a physician and other experts who specialize in treating the child’s specific type of cancer. All physicians are board certified and are dedicated to providing our young patients with the very specialized treatment and attention they need while always keeping in mind the child’s well-being now and in the future.
Nurse Management Team
The nurses in our management team are registered nurses with specialized training in pediatric oncology, are nationally certified and typically have at least 10 years experience working with pediatric cancer patients.
- Provides leadership for the coordination of clinical and administrative functions for patients and associates at the Cancer Institute on a 24-hour basis.
- Responsible for the fiscal and business decisions for specific clinical areas.
- In charge of managing specific clinical areas.
- Oversee overall care to ensure the delivery of quality care, patient safety and satisfaction, staff performance and education.
Our nurses are among the finest in the country. Many of our nurses are master’s prepared, and all have specialized training in pediatric oncology, holding the highly respected Certified Pediatric Oncology Nurse (CPON) designation. They are chemotherapy certified, and have Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) certification.
- A nurse who follows each child’s case and makes recommendations for optimal use of resources.
- Works “behind the scenes” to coordinate the activity necessary to provide for a smooth discharge from the hospital.
- Often has regular contact with the patient’s insurance company to keep it updated on the child’s status.
- Coordinates the care of each assigned patient, ensuring that individuals receive the full continuum of care that is seamless – especially in the transfer from the inpatient unit to outpatient services and between providers.
- Responsible for bridging nursing care between the inpatient and outpatient settings, ensuring that transition to the next level of care is smooth.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Coordinates the patient family education program, maintaining current material on various diagnoses and information. Evaluates accuracy of current material on various diagnosis and clinical information.
- Conducts nursing research.
- Ensures nurses are using current evidence-based practice.
- Conduct family-patient education.
- Monitors the ongoing training of the nursing oncology staff.
- Assist with handling admissions and discharges, physical assessment procedures and provide hands-on care of the patient.
- Share information about diagnoses, treatment plans and progress with the physician, family, nursing staff and other team members.
Nursing Staff (all are Registered Nurses – RNs)
- Deliver daily care of the patient, working alongside nurses’ aides who also have experience with cancer patients.
- Assigned to the patient’s care throughout a designated shift – usually 12 hours in length.
- Monitors child frequently for changes in condition and responses to treatment.
- Informs other health team members of the child’s needs as necessary.
- Gives medication, treatments, daily care, support and patient/family education.
- Reinforce education regarding diagnosis, treatment, medication side effects and home care guidelines.
- Oversees the day-to-day operation of the oncology unit.
- Serves as the family contact to answer nursing-related questions or concerns.
Bone Marrow Transplant Nurse Coordinator
- Meets with parents prior to a child’s transplant and reviews what will happen throughout the procedure.
- Communicates and coordinates all pre-testing and evaluations that are required prior to transplant.
- Also available in the clinic after the child has been discharged from the hospital to assist in the child’s follow-up and home care needs.
Clinical Research Nurse
- This is a nurse who records and maintains “roadmaps” (treatment plans) for all oncology patients.
- Collects and coordinates required data for patients’ tests, pathology and radiology reports, and the dates and doses of chemotherapy given for each course of treatment.
In addition to physicians and nurses, the Cancer Institute is staffed with specially trained associates who are focused on providing compassionate care to patients battling cancer.
Child Life Specialists
- Focus on the emotional and developmental needs of patients and their families at the Cancer Institute.
- Use play and other forms of communication to reduce the stress and decrease the anxiety surrounding the cancer experience, and enable children and families to cope in a positive manner.
- Assess the psychosocial needs of patients and families, and provide appropriate therapeutic activities to meet the wide array of unique individual needs.
- Evaluate, treat and care for cancer patients who also have breathing disorders.
- Work with patients at the bedside and in the outpatient setting.
- Optimize a patient’s nutrition status, with the goal to improve tolerance of their cancer treatments and promote age-appropriate growth.
- Work closely with the medical team to prevent or correct nutritional deficiencies, minimize treatment side effects and enhance quality of life.
- Play an integral part of the care team by accompanying physicians on rounds, working with the pharmacists and interacting with nurses to provide the best nutrition possible.
- Provide education upon diagnosis and as needed throughout your child’s treatment.
Physical Therapists/Occupational Therapists/Speech Therapists
- Travel to the bedside and also work with patients in the outpatient setting.
- Physical therapists teach exercises and physical activities that help condition muscles of cancer patients to restore strength and movement. An individualized exercise program is developed and used to help with walking, sitting or using the hands or arms.
- Occupational therapists teach patients how to master activities of daily living.
- Speech therapists help cancer patients address their communication and swallowing problems.
- Offer the finest in pain management to make children as comfortable as possible.
- Provide brief general anesthetics for several diagnostic and therapeutic procedures, especially for newly diagnosed and younger children.
- Teach children about ways to cope with physical discomforts such as nausea and pain with non-medical treatments. Our specialists, along with psychology and social services, use education, relaxation, biofeedback and guided imagery to help patients cope with pain and anxiety.
- Available on an inpatient and outpatient basis to help our patients.
- Assist patients and families in coping with the physical and psychological challenges of the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
- Help children and other family members understand and adapt to the changes in their lives.
- Answer questions in both English and Spanish regarding resources, finances, insurance and discharge planning.
- Possess special expertise in diagnostic testing, therapy and counseling for common emotional problems associated with cancer.
- Available for consultations with parents, schools, physicians and other health care providers.
- Responsible for monitoring drug therapy, which is especially necessary in patients who are hospitalized since each responds to medication in a different way.
- Along with the doctor, will watch for changes in the child’s condition that might affect the way a drug works.
- Evaluates the individual ingredients that make up the total parenteral nutrition (TPN) solutions used for intravenous nutrition.
- Provides spiritual counseling, prayers, rituals and a presence during times of stress and struggle.