2022 AWARD WINNERS
Alicia has been a nurse for more than 16 years. In 2021, she completed an MSN program to become a Family Nurse Practitioner. She currently works as an Oncology Infusion Nurse, and one of her patients nominated her, submitting a four-page narrative with MANY details about the care this exemplary nurse provides. The patient wrote: She mentioned to us that the first three rounds of chemo treatments could be the riskiest, if there were going to be any abnormal reactions to the drugs. It happened to me on my third round. We are appreciative of Alicia for her professional knowledge and medical skills and, most importantly, grateful that she was my nurse for the first three infusions. She was like an angel for me.
Each round of chemo was a long, three-plus hour of treatment, from the beginning of the infusion to the end. Alicia was always taking care of several patients during the same time, busy greeting and serving each of the patients, but she never cut the corner. Every time, she asked me about my name and birthday. She checked my name, birthday and Duke patient ID on my wristband to match my patient records in the system before performing each new drug of infusion. She asked another nurse or supervisor come to double-check my dosage and speed formulated on the dispensing machine to make sure all the safety procedures were completed and correct. She pronounced the name of the drug and quantity to us, so we were aware of what type of the medication and how much of it I was going to get each time before we started the round of the drug infusion. She treated my chemo treatment seriously each time and administered my treatment with well-trained skills and professional attitude.
What would be happening to my body during chemo treatments? This was the biggest fear and question in my mind as we walked into the treating room. Alicia helped us eliminate those fears by first making sure that we were settled down in the treating room nice and comfortable. Then, she gave us a comprehensive review and walk-through regarding: what the whole chemo treatment would be like; the kind of chemo drugs and their potential side effects; and what kind of pre-medicine I would receive and how I would feel as the medicines go into my body. Alicia provided us with a full picture to understand and she asked if we had any questions. (Of course, we had tons of questions.) She listened to our questions/concerns carefully and took time to answer them candidly. Alicia educated us how to monitor my body’s reaction to the drugs and pre-medication and let us know what the medical team will do to help me, in cases of adverse reaction actually occurred. She also reminded us to pay special attention and watch for any kind of body’s reaction to the chemo drugs in the first three rounds of the treatments. She made us feel informed, cared for and safe.
I was fearful about the side effects during my chemo treatments and we expressed our concerns to Alicia when we first met. To prevent getting neuropathy, Alicia shared that some cancer patient would do the ice-treatment to decrease the chances of getting the numbness and tingling in their hands or feet. She encouraged us to give it a try (even though the chances might only be 50-50) and led my husband to the ice counter to prepare the ice pack for me. Then, she taught my husband how to do the ice-treatment and time the length of treatment in between. We followed Alicia’s instruction for the ice-treatment for the duration of the treatment. The end result of the ice-treatment experiment was so effective and successful, I did not develop or experience any neuropathy side effects at all. It was really good news and credited to Alicia!
Treating a terrible disease like cancer takes a whole medical team. During my chemo treatments, my situation had its highs and lows. In the first and second treatments, my body’s reaction to the drugs seemed to be fine. However, in the third round, everything changed. I experienced an unusual sharp pain down my body, which I had never experienced before. We communicated to Alicia, and she immediately reached out to the emergency doctor on the floor to visit me. The whole situation was intense and in high alert. After the emergency doctor’s checking and consulting with my oncology medicine doctors and oncology pharmacist, the whole team decided to change the dosage and modify the speed of the medicine infused into my body. Alicia quickly picked up the new orders from the medical team and administered my treatment, accordingly.
Alicia Blue was the nurse who called my name on my first treatment day, and then the second and third times, and more times (seven times total) during my treatments. Alicia was not only caring and thoughtful, but also knowledgeable and skillful in administering my chemo treatments. My husband and I feel we are so lucky to have Alicia as our nurse, who guided us, step by step, in navigating those unforgettable chemo treatments safely and successfully. We wish all cancer patients could receive the same kind of professional treatment experiences like we received with Alicia, who truly aids patients and their family by caring for them while in the most difficult situation – fighting cancer.
As a Duke patient, I must let you know how wonderful Alicia Blue is to her patients, like me. She made me and my husband feel connected, understood and well cared for during the toughest period of my cancer treatment journey!
Clinical Services Nurse II
Oncology Treatment Center
Duke Cancer Center
Duke University Hospital