Research nurses can help myeloma patients, but how do they help exactly? Clinical trial nursing director RuthAnn Gordon from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center explains the different ways that research nurses help during the patient journey.
Dr. Nicole Rochester:
We know that research nurses are at the front line of treating patients. Can you speak to your role, and how you believe it has changed over time?
Absolutely. First, I can tell you that I’ve been doing research nursing for over 20 years and really love the work. I think it’s important for patients to have that support when they’re going through a clinical trial. And so we’ve done a lot of work to make sure that they have that support. So our role is to really be able to guide the patient through the journey, making sure that they’re educated on what they can expect on the clinical trial, and not only in terms of what maybe the drug might be doing them in terms of side effects, but what is their schedule going to look like? When are they going to have to come in? How long are they going to be here? What does that mean? And how do we support them with their quality of life while they go through all the responsibilities that they as patients have on a clinical trial, and what do they need to do to get ready for that experience?
And so we’re guiding them, we’re educating them, we’re ensuring that they do understand the potential side effects, but do understand also what their role is in the clinical trial and what they can expect. And I think that in terms of what has changed is that we have really put more value on the fact that having that nurse that has the expertise in the clinical trial and really can gatekeep all of the patient care coordination that that involves from a clinician experience and from a clinician perspective, has really helped to ensure that our patients are ready, that we can do our very complex trials.
Because trials have changed so much in the last decade. There’s so many more expectations. There are so many more things that need to happen while they’re on the trial that really having that clinician doing that with the patient has improved our ability to do those kinds of complex trials. And so I think that really recognizing that having that clinician perspective at the partner, at the bedside with the patient has really helped us to expand the kind of trials that we can do.