5 Questions with Susan Glass, Oncology Nurse

Published: May 31, 2016

By: Stamford Health Staff

Many would agree that it takes a special kind of stamina and passion to pursue a career in nursing. For OCN Susan Glass of Bennett Cancer Center, however, oncology nursing in particular was her calling. Here’s what inspires her to help deliver the best-in-class care across the entire continuum.

1. What do you like most about working for Stamford Health?

We genuinely deliver quality care here. The closeness we develop with both our patients and doctors is what really sets us apart. There’s a sense of camaraderie and openness that exists within the whole care team; there’s definitely no fear of communication. I’d absolutely recommend my own family for care and treatment here, even though I hope I never have to.

2. What do you believe is the one quality that sets OCN’s apart from RN’s?

By nature, the role of an oncology nurse is very precise, serious, and intense. You really have to know you want it and understand that it requires a certain level of maturity.

But, it’s important to realize that OCN’s don’t just deal with cancer. For example, we also assist pregnant women in getting iron infusions and we’re trained in hematology care that isn’t necessarily cancer related.

3. How have you seen the oncology nursing field evolve since you’ve started?

I’ve been nursing a long time and have been in oncology nursing nearly a decade. There are definitely more choices and treatments for those with cancer than when I first started my nursing career. Some people would even say the letter “C” instead of the word, “cancer.” That’s how much fear existed.

But now people are living longer with certain cancers. It’s really exciting when new discoveries are found with research, genetic counseling, and clinical trials. Whether they’re in remission or cured, it’s rewarding to see people spend more quality time with their loved ones and go to special events like graduations and baby showers.

4. What’s the biggest challenge about this position from your perspective?

The challenge is the truth: cancer is serious. No one welcomes it, and at the same time, no one voluntarily wants chemotherapy. It’s not always easy for us nurses to take a step back and fully explain the process (and even side effects) to the patients when there’s so much racing through their minds.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring oncology nurses?

Oncology is a great department to work in; there’s a lot of room for growth. Be receptive to change and keep up with your research when it comes to the latest drugs and treatments. This career is anything but routine!

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