Nurses are indispensable human resources in any hospital. It is no exaggeration to say that Malta had already experienced what such a shortage of nurses could cause to the health sector, as the peak of Covid-19’s pandemic nursing staff was reached.
Sometimes my efforts are not recognized properly, but some nurses are happy to take care of their patients and see them discharged when they recover.
Ronnie Frendo, 56, an oncology nurse, has been working in the oncology department for the past 32 years.
“I’m very happy to work here,” he said. Malta independence..
Ronnie has always wanted to be a nurse since he was a kid, so he said he would check this every time the teacher asked him what kind of career he wanted to pursue. Working with tumor patients, some of whom are terminally ill, is not easy.
The nurse in this department has been with the patient since the first appointment and, in some circumstances, may be present at the last breath.
The patient’s journey begins with a test that leads to a diagnosis, where the situation is communicated.
“If the cancer is in the first stage, it’s one thing, but if it’s in the fourth stage, it’s another. As the stage progresses, the treatment becomes less effective,” he says. I did.
He said they had to break the news when all treatments, such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, stopped working on patients. It is at this stage that patients are eligible for palliative care.
A friend said that to maximize healing rates, you should go to the doctor as soon as you feel something is wrong with your body.
“When people discovered they had cancer, it would have been on them for two years already,” he said.
He added that cancer is considered a silent killer from an early age because it shows no signs of infection, unlike when suffering from high blood pressure because of the immediate effects of headaches and dizziness. rice field.
One of the most difficult news doctors and nurses have to tell patients is that they have to inform patients that they have cancer. Ronnie adds that this is not the only shock that patients suffer. The second shock is because you have to tell the patient that you will be treated as a palliative care patient.
“They will feel their health is deteriorating, but some of them wouldn’t have expected it,” he said.
He added that, apart from nurses and doctors, consultants, social workers and psychologists are all important to help prepare patients “for this new stage of life.”
Frendo says that some people cry and others are shocked by staring at nothing when they realize that treatment doesn’t work. Like after they started asking doctors. ” He added that for the same reason, these patients are usually required to accompany them.
Despite years of experience in the field, attending such episodes in which the family is informed about the diagnosis of cancer in relatives says it affects him, especially when the patient is still young. I did.
“Sometimes it is the patients’ own children who tell us not to let their parents know about their diagnosis because they know how they react. In such situations,” you are malicious. I have always been able to find the right words to slowly convey the news, using phrases such as “You need to start growing an organization and treat it,” Ronnie said. ..
Asked how the news is communicated to infant patients, Frendo said, “They need to be treated differently than they do for adults.” He added that children are usually told in words they understand, such as “Now the doctor gives you something for pain and it won’t hurt anymore.”
View of life
Talking about his current role, Frendo said his view of life in general has changed.
“There is no guarantee of longevity, so working in oncology changes your view of life,” he said.
In explaining the benefits of being a nurse working in the Faculty of Oncology, Ronnie said that seeing so many people dying, especially young people, leaves a mark. Nonetheless, he does not interfere with the quality of services and care provided by nurses and doctors, and can also benefit from the psychological services already provided in the field, if needed. Said.
Patient’s mental health
Regarding the patient’s mental health, Frendo said a warm welcome is always needed as new patients are always confused when they first receive treatment.
The first thing the staff does to the patient is to give them a “tour” of the facility, along with an explanation of what they should expect. When making these introductions, Frendo adds, “There are people here who love you and take care of you.” Since nurses work in shifts, patients are accompanied by a variety of nurses.
“We will do our best to treat patients comprehensively,” he said.
Nurses are also offered continuous training opportunities to gain a better understanding of how to respond to some situations. Attendance is not compulsory, but many participants are always expected.
Friend said continuous training is necessary for nurses and cannot be tolerated, especially given that experienced personnel must act as mentors for new employees.
The nurse will do her best to make the patient feel at home. “We try to make jokes between us and our patients, apparently without pushing the limits, which allowed us to create and maintain a family atmosphere,” he says. I did.
As an example, when he witnessed a patient suffering from intolerable pain, the nurse said he would start a conversation undisturbed and try to distract him.
The option of sleeping in a facility is always offered to patients who are receiving very complex and long-term treatment, but Frendo is very pleased to know that some patients are willing to do so. Said that. He added that some patients became very comfortable with them and they even jokingly described the experience as a “weekend break.”
In situations where the patient is unvisited, nurses are known to pay special attention to such patients, such as asking if they want something from the hospital cafeteria because they cannot go on their own. I am. This is a very simple act, but it can boost patient morale by providing something other than hospital meals.
And at Christmas time, competitions are held between the oncology center wards, and the best-decorated one wins. Some of these decorations are handmade by the patient himself.
Impact of nursing on individuals
A friend said that during the first period of his career in the oncology department, it was very difficult to handle the patient’s death and he went to another room and cried.
If the patient in question had been in the facility for an extended period of time, this would be experienced emotionally at a deeper level.
Despite years of experience making him tougher, the sight of the patient dying still makes him sad.
Ronnie mentions a particular experience that left him behind and talks about how some patients directly witnessed the level of despair that some patients felt emotionally in the early days when the Department of Oncology was still at Sir Paul Bofa Hospital. increase. He is being treated for cancer.
“It wasn’t the first time a patient had jumped out of a window and died,” he said.
A friend explained that the nurse was instructed to notify the doctor in the ward because if he learned that the patient wanted to commit suicide, he would need to be referred to a psychologist.
“I don’t hear much about this happening,” he said, as the windows of the facility are locked and only the guards have the keys.
https://www.independent.com.mt/articles/2022-05-08/local-news/It-s-a-sad-place-but-we-try-to-create-a-family-atmosphere-at-Oncology-Centre-nurse-6736242757 It’s a sad place, but we’re trying to create a family atmosphere at the Oncology Center – Nurses