Nurses’ voices are rarely heard in the day-to-day operations of the big business of healthcare, and many oncology nurses rarely get a chance to directly influence cancer survivors’ health once they leave the clinical setting in which treatment takes place. Alene Nitzky worked as an ICU and oncology nurse in the hospital setting, and soon realized her skills and knowledge, as well as her co-workers’, were profoundly underutilized to meet the needs of the patients who underwent treatment for cancer, then were left to their own devices to restore their quality of life, with little support or guidance, and few skills to help them recover.
The book is about the different stakeholders in cancer survivorship care: Patients, families & caregivers, community providers of complementary health services, nurses, physicians, administrators & executives, policymakers & legislators, citizens and people who have never had cancer, and charitable organizations such as not-for-profits at the national and local levels, and how each of these groups can do a better job to ensure that cancer survivors needs are met.
The book discusses the current problems that contribute to the issue of gaps in cancer care, especially for survivors after treatment, but also for those in ongoing treatment such as patients with metastatic cancer, and offers a number of solutions and suggestions to improve healthcare and self-care around cancer.
The book proposes several educational programs that could address these gaps in information, education, and understanding of cancer survivors’ needs. FIERCE: Functional & Fit, Independent, Energized, Restored, Confident & Empowered® is an active support program for cancer survivors that emphasizes restorative physical activity and enjoyment of movement with a social support and educational basis.
Cancer Harbors® is a program of comprehensive, restorative self-care skills that can be learned to address many of the recovery issues common to post-cancer treatment experiences.
“Because living is so much more than surviving®” is a simple educational curriculum proposed to address the knowledge and skill gaps among the public in understanding, accessing and navigating the healthcare system before a cancer or serious illness diagnosis ensues. The Prevent-Prepare-Prehab approach within the curriculum addresses health knowledge and skill gaps across different levels of need.
Piquing interest in these programs for research studies and funding is a challenge for grassroots programs, that may not appeal to big healthcare corporations’ primary business focus, but meet the everyday, human needs of people in communities, outside of the clinical setting. Nitzky makes an appeal for the intrinsic value of community programs and smaller, more personalized approaches to cancer survivorship and population health, where big healthcare & big business miss the mark.
Publisher: Blue Bayou Press
Author: Alene Nitzky, Ph.D., RN, OCN