It is with great pleasure that I nominate Christine Wylie, MSN, RN, OCN, for the 2022 Extraordinary Healer® Award. One thing I know for sure is that Christine is an extraordinary healer. She has helped make so many other nurses, like me, extraordinary healers.
When I retired in the fall of 2021, I was a colleague of Christine. Christine greatly contributed to making my last years in clinical oncology nursing a unique and special moment. I had many years of experience in various positions and departments, but oncology was where I wanted to spend my last working years.
Due to the grind of over 25 years in many nursing roles, I had developed hip and back problems. I knew it was time to change roles in order to extend a career that I loved. So I applied for an outpatient chemotherapy infusion position and was hired at the prestigious Siteman Cancer Center at Washington University in St. Louis.
I am a retired Air Force flight nurse who recently served in war zones. I would be the first male registered nurse in this particular center, and I was also unique because I was 64 years old. One would imagine that I could be quite a challenge for a much younger, but professional tutor. Thank goodness Christine voluntarily took on this challenge.
The Siteman Infusion Room is seen by patients as a center of hope and a place where their care is made much more tolerable. We often hear comments such as “It’s more like a family reunion than a chemotherapy treatment.”
Staff are often praised for their sincere care and compassion. Much of this praise is due to Christine. His friendly face is the first patients see in chemotherapy treatment pods. She makes an extremely positive impression on patients through her teaching, which in turn paves the way for our fruitful relationship with them.
Christine started as an infusion nurse in 2014 and since then has evolved into various roles as the care center has progressed and grown. She simultaneously continued her nursing education to the master’s level with a focus on nursing and patient education. While working as a key staff member, she also developed several new roles within the center that have been most instrumental in our excellent care success.
Six months after being hired, she was promoted to floating nurse coordinator. It was a new idea for the centre, and she developed this role, which gave her the flexibility to float between an infusion nurse providing direct care and a clinical nurse coordinator in a clinical setting, depending on the staffing needs of this fast-growing treatment. center. The position was so well developed and utilized that Christine was assigned to train two other in-house nurses for the position.
In 2019, Christine was promoted to Clinical Nurse Educator. This was another role that was new to the center, and it was up to it to create and prove its worth. In this role, she has the enormous task of teaching all of our patients about their chemotherapy treatments, common side effects, and how to manage them effectively.
She is also responsible for keeping nursing informed of new therapies or indications, changes in policies and procedures, organizing Basic Life Support certification renewal courses for staff and anything else offered to them. She is essential in helping new employees orient themselves and train to her high standards.
Christine quickly accepted this new job and ran away. His model was such that he was asked to help other sites develop and hire this position.
As South County became a major clinical treatment area, Christine continued to grow and develop her clinical expertise and teaching/training skills. She has helped advance several internal committees that have a direct impact on the delivery of patient care.
She sits on the Unit’s Policy and Procedures Committee and Practice Committee. She works with the clinical pharmacy team on issues related to patient treatment plans. She liaises between clinical teams and patients throughout their care journey to ensure maximum benefit from the care plan.
She will work in any area of need. She is a team player with extraordinary abilities, and she selflessly helps everyone with advice and guidance towards professional goals.
Christine is the strongest advocate for our nurses to obtain their OCN certification. She finds preparatory courses and resources for our nurses to successfully obtain this prestigious certification. She has a personal goal to certify all of our nursing staff and is very close to achieving it. She has developed and teaches accredited chemotherapy courses for new staff. She is a constant proponent of continuous professional growth and development through training and skill mastery for all of our nurses.
Christine recently took the reins of the evidence-based practice committee and presented one of her projects at an Oncology Nursing Society conference. She has worked on many new projects related to evidence-based practice and is involved in trials on the use of patients using oral cryotherapy by chewing ice while receiving adriamycin (doxorubicin) infusions. The objective is to evaluate the effectiveness of this intervention with regard to the relief of the side effect of painful mucositis. The first results are very positive.
Christine has been instrumental in researching and implementing our caregiver nurses changing our intramuscular drug injection practices. We changed these injections from dorsogluteal to ventrogluteal sites. This helped relieve pain and increase drug absorption while reducing the risk of accidental sciatic nerve irritation. Many of our nurses had never done a ventrogluteal intramuscular injection of drugs. Christine has trained everyone to a high level of confidence and our patients have benefited.
Christine has been a very helpful resource when we set up scalp cooling for our patients. This helps to prevent hair loss when receiving chemotherapies that are sensitive to hair follicles. It was so successful that we recently added more scalp cooling machines.
In 2018, we upgraded our electronic medical records to the EPIC system. It was particularly difficult for all of us. Christine was so amazing at calming us down. His skills in helping this make sense to us saved the day. She did a better job of explaining the changes than the program company trainers and was really helpful to me personally.
Christine is innovative and involved in the development of training materials for patients and staff using the latest technologies. She collected training supplies to educate patients on care of their IV line for those using home infusion pumps. She used these materials using a hands-on approach that allows a very new or shy patient to overcome their fear of chemotherapy and learn the necessary skills.
Christine’s compassion for the patient begins when he is diagnosed with cancer. She helps them transition into an active role in their therapy, including being able to read the signs and symptoms and possible complications of therapy. They learn to understand their lab values, nutritional principles, medications, and how to communicate with their healthcare team.
Her communication skills are highly adaptable and easily matched to patient and staff needs. She is known for providing small but meaningful little tips to alleviate some of the discomforts of chemotherapy that are often left out of standard question-and-answer forms. Her follow-up calls and availability of her resources have been extremely helpful in ensuring that our patients receive their treatment with less fear and anxiety.
Christine’s skills in assessing, adapting and communicating new and ever-changing information regarding guidelines and protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic has enabled us to maintain the safest level of protection and the highest for our immunocompromised cancer patients.
Christine is an accomplished professional with a strong desire to use her well-developed knowledge and skills to provide the best patient care experience.
She hugged, laughed and cried with all of us – staff and patients. When our patients experience his compassion and care, they are brought into a measure of ease and comfort. She is a beacon of hope in their journey and a beacon for our journey in our ability to provide the best patient care.
She is truly an Extraordinary Healer®.
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