Working as an oncology nurse in the hospital, Alene Nitzky soon realized her skills and knowledge, as well as her co-workers’, were profoundly underutilized to meet the needs of patients undergoing cancer treatment. From the initial shock of a diagnosis, patients progressed to paralyzing fear around their mortality. Not knowing what to do, when, in what order, or who to rely on for help, patients missed key information that would have helped them go through the cancer patient experience with less distress and anxiety.
Afterward, patients were left to their own devices to recover, with little support or guidance, and few skills to help them restore their quality of life. Outside of the healthcare system, instead of taking a distant, clinical, big data approach, Nitzky describes meeting people where they were, in their homes, communities, and support groups, where she could listen to their everyday concerns- the ones they never had time to discuss in short medical appointments. Given time and active listening, they articulated their needs for practical skills in understanding health information, self-advocacy, and self-care that accommodates their lifestyles, and matches their values and preferences around quality of life.
In three, easy to understand, skill-based education programs aimed at closing gaps in information and understanding about cancer and survivors’ needs, the author calls for active prevention and preparation to reduce the trauma of a cancer diagnosis through C.A.R.E.: creativity, authenticity, resourcefulness, and empathy. Navigating the C will walk you through the steps you need to take to get your needs met in a system that so often fails cancer patients in finding the way back to themselves, and the possibility of emerging better than ever.
Everyone can expect to become empowered by reading this book by a passionate advocate for patients and healthcare workers: Patients, caregivers, and survivors will gain self-advocacy and self-care skills to have more control over their follow-up care experiences, and become more active and confident participants in their own healthcare. Ordinary citizens and those who have never had cancer will learn the simple steps they can take to reduce the trauma around an initial cancer diagnosis for themselves, or support their loved ones. Healthcare professionals will examine their own values around providing cancer treatment and survivorship care.
Finally, those on the fringes of clinical care- the decision-makers and administrators- will gain insight into what really happens to the end-users of cancer services and how their lives are impacted by their experiences in healthcare. Nitzky appeals for the importance of reducing the trauma of a cancer diagnosis, the intrinsic value of community programs, and smaller, individual approaches to cancer survivorship care, where big healthcare and big business miss the mark.
Navigating the C: A Nurse Charts the Course for Cancer Survivorship Care. By Alene Nitzky, Ph.D., RN, OCN. Blue Bayou Press, 2018. 216 pages. $19.95 paperback, $9.99 Kindle. Available on Amazon.
Navigating the C is available on Amazon: https://a.co/ciTYFWi
Local Signing event at Elevation 5003 on January 28: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/navigating-the-c-book-signing-meet-the-author-tickets-42151424044
February 12 at Raintree Athletic Club, and February 22 at Hope Lives! For more details, visit https://cancerharbors.com/events