What Avera Oncology Nurses Want You to Know About Cancer
This story is part of a series in which Avera nurses and other care-team members share their perspectives on the cancer journey and how they keep patients at the center of everything they do.
Brian Moss, RN, OCN, chemotherapy infusion nurse, Avera Medical Group Medical Oncology, has worked in health care for more than 20 years, including 18 years as an RN. He said there are several key ideas he makes sure to share with his patients.
We want you to know that together, we create sacred spaces. In my nursing career, I spent about seven months away from cancer care, and when I had the chance, I went back. One of the main reasons is the way patients and caregivers like me create what I call sacred spaces when we share with one another. Patients and their families really share their lives with me, and I share mine with them. It’s an amazing experience to be there for someone and help them to realize that they are not alone. You don’t have to be afraid. We’ll always be transparent in our efforts to help you.
You’re going to be surrounded – in a good way. With you at the center, we are a single team, and that means we’re all going to do whatever it takes to give you resources, support and the guidance you need. As a Christian organization, our health system is grounded in the Gospel, and our approach is holistic. We’ll answer your questions and provide you with the proper physical care – but we’ll also pray with you if you wish. Cancer patients may have a life-threatening illness – but all of us will die. There’s a bigger picture to this work.
The blessing in disguise idea is something many people notice. It may seem contrary, but many patients have told me they see their cancer diagnosis as a blessing in disguise because when they get the frightening news, it leads them to make deeper connections. They do so not only with their loved ones, but with Christ. I see it as part of my job to help patients realize that the big picture exists, how you can connect with it and how you can draw power from the situation. We will do everything in our power to put you in touch with resources that can help, from chaplains and counselors to our integrative medicine team and other specialists.
We’re in a small city, but your cancer team is not. We hear it all the time from patients who explored their options at cancer centers well-known across the country and around the world: Avera Cancer Institute is just as good, if not better. We have a wide range of clinical trials taking place, state-of-the-art technology and equipment and we consider our physicians and nurses to be among the best, if not the best, anywhere. We’re a confident group, and we will help you explore your options if you feel a second opinion is something you want. We’ll support you no matter what – you’re in charge of your care.
There’s truth in the fact that laughter is good medicine. Sometimes humor can be found even in a dark or forbidding situation. I have seen it myself, patients who laugh themselves to better health. I experience joy in my love for Christ, and this can manifest itself in humor or laughter. We have to realize it’s another form of medicine and in times of worry or tough situations, sometimes it helps to let go and just laugh and live fully. One patient told me that he felt he would win no matter what: if he passed away, he’d be with Christ. If he lived, he’d have realized what life is all about. He was present in what he faced. And he often laughed about things and really engaged with life.