Two nurses from The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, N.J., are forging a new path as the facilitys first outpatient oncology nursing fellows.
Caree Guzman, RN, and Alyssa Duerr Hatler, RN, are piloting a new program that offers Valley RNs an opportunity to become trained in oncology care and chemotherapy delivery, and to provide patient care in the Outpatient Infusion Center at Valleys Blumenthal Cancer Center.
The fellowship program was developed through a collaboration among the cancer center and the patient care services and education departments to meet a need for specialized care for oncology patients, according to Sandy Balentine, RN, MSN, OCN, director of clinical oncology.
As our volume of infusion patients grew, we had difficulty filling positions for experienced infusion nurses who can administer chemotherapy, Balentine said in a news release. We modeled our program after our successful graduate nurses residency program and posted application information internally to Valley Health System RNs. Our nurses are already familiar with our Valley culture and vision, so this program became another avenue to train our own as we meet a need for specialized cancer care.
The fellowship is a four-month program developed and managed by Balentine, the team leader; interim clinical shift coordinator Valerie Quigley, RN, OCN, as unit resource coordinator; and Colleen Bardi, RN, educator. RN preceptors for the fellows are Lindsay Buldo, RN, OCN; Veronica Monroy, RN, OCN; and Cheryl Taylor Butcher, RN, OCN. The programs curriculum includes daily meetings and weekly summations; journal keeping; education on cancer, chemotherapy and radiation therapy; clinical experiences; and tumor conferences.
Competencies must be completed after chemotherapy administration and documentation.
At the completion of the program, our fellows can take the course for a chemotherapy certificate by the national Oncology Nursing Society, Balentine said in the release.