City of Hope Honors Health Care’s Largest Workforce During National Nurses Week

Monday, May 03, 2021

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By Wendy P. Austin, R.N., M.S., AOCN, FACHE, is Senior Vice President, Operations, City of Hope Orange County; and Cynthia Powers, DNP, M.S., R.N., is Vice President, Associate Chief of Nursing, City of Hope Orange County.

It has been more than a year since we first began acknowledging and cheering for nurses and other medical professionals for their heroism during COVID-19. The contributions of nurses are so profound that the World Health Organization (WHO) designated 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife. It is fitting that WHO has extended that designation through the end of this year. It’s a continued global recognition of the dedication and sacrifice of these highly trained and compassionate professionals.

Now, as we shift our focus on bringing our community back to health, let’s celebrate this year’s Nurses Week (May 6-11) by recognizing their essential role in shaping a better future for all of us in Orange County and beyond.  

We all know nurses ensure our good health but did you know nurses make up most of the world’s health care force? Here are some things they’re doing to make tomorrow even healthier that may surprise you:

Influencing many sectors: Nurses are well known for their role in providing patient care in the hospital setting. However, they also contribute their vast knowledge of patient care beyond the traditional setting. Nurses may work in clinics, doctor’s offices, businesses, public health, research, informatics, genomics, and academia, to name just a few areas. They may also decide to specialize in everything from management to unique clinical areas. The nurses at City of Hope specialize in oncology, and many have advanced certification and training in chemotherapy, particular kinds of cancer, surgery, and palliative care. Our nurses at City of Hope Newport Beach are highly specialized and we’ll be bringing that knowledge and expertise in scale when we open our cancer center in Irvine in 2022.

On the leading edge of medical discovery: Many nurses are engaged in breakthrough discoveries, including those that will lead to eradicating cancer. For example, clinical trials research nurses at City of Hope are essential for our CAR T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy) studies, which are re-engineering immune cells to seek out and destroy a patient’s cancer. These nurses help shape trial criteria, evaluate research methods, ensure quality control, and are key for connecting with our patients. Without them, lifesaving science could not advance, and we would not have the next breakthrough cancer discovery.

Transforming care delivery: Telehealth came of age during COVID-19, allowing people to connect with medical providers from their homes. Nurses are at the forefront of this revolutionary transformation in health care delivery, some working as nursing informaticists and others providing virtual patient education, care, and counseling. In some cases, a virtual visit helps nurses better assess patients because they can observe them in their surroundings. In cancer care, telehealth eases patient and family concerns and expands access to important clinical trials as patients can participate with fewer in-person visits.

Advocating for patients: Navigating today’s health care can be daunting, especially when you or a family member is diagnosed with a serious disease like cancer. Nurses give patients and families the information they need to make difficult decisions. They serve as a voice for vulnerable people, answering questions, navigating care, and ensuring their safety in the clinical setting, at discharge, and beyond. Nurses also link people to health care resources in the community and keep people healthy with screenings and preventive education.

Managing care: Nurses manage and assist in coordinating patient care. Their work ensures continuity for patients and keeps the system working well. Nurses also understand patient needs and assess for critical factors such as the social determinants of health (transportation and safe housing, for example) and community resources available to the patient upon discharge. This holistic view of patient care is so vital to making health care work for local patients and families.

We are fortunate in Orange County to have excellent health care resources, along with highly skilled professionals. However, we need even more. Nearly a quarter of nurses are 55 or older, meaning many nurses are nearing retirement age and will take their expertise and experience with them. That’s concerning as our population is aging, serious illnesses such as cancers are still on the rise, and as we saw last year, we must be prepared at all times for the next health care crisis.

To all the young people who are inspired by our nursing professionals, consider joining them. Nurses make a difference for our community; our future looks healthier because of them.

During this Nurses Week, take a moment to say thank you to our brave and dedicated nurses who tirelessly serve our patients and our Orange County community. They put their own needs aside to ensure our patients receive safe, expert, and compassionate care – and that’s more than a profession, more than a career; it is a true calling.

Nurses show us what people do when they are at their best.

City of Hope Orange County is the diamond-level Leaders Circle partner of the Greater Irvine Chamber.


Category: Healthcare, Leaders Circle, City of Hope, Greater Irvine Chamber