Tag Archives: Iowa City

Careful assessing is better than second-guessing

Several years ago, I made a “decision” that I needed to figure out a better way to make decisions.

We all struggle with decisions whether big or small. We all sometimes delay making difficult decisions, or revisit the decision once it is made again and again. For me, difficult decisions can vary from deciding what treatment to recommend for a cancer patient, to determining how best to structure a new cancer research program, to deciding whether I should attend yet another meeting. There are times when I feel overwhelmed by the sheer number, the potential consequences and the variety of decisions that need to be made, particularly if I put off the difficult ones and let them build up. Continue reading

The lows and highs of a difficult job done well

The doctors and nurses are the most visible contributors to the delivery of care to cancer patients at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, but a huge amount of work is done behind the scenes by clerical staff, pharmacists, laboratory technicians, administrators and many other highly dedicated professionals with dozens of different job descriptions. Top quality patient care requires input, coordination and dedication of all these individuals doing jobs that are both visible and jobs that are not.

Many staff members experience the lows and highs of interacting on a daily basis with cancer patients and their families in person or by phone. Even those who do not interact directly with patients are driven to do the best job possible because they recognize the importance of the job they do – making a difference at a critical time for patients and their loved-ones who are dealing with cancer.

Dealing with people in such a time of need is an honor but also adds to the pressure of the job and takes an emotional toll. Not only the doctors and nurses, but all who work in the HCCC know how hard it is when a patient we have come to know and admire does poorly, even when we have done our best  (for a fantastic, heartfelt, and wrenching perspective on how providing cancer care can impact a professional, see Dr. Mo’s blog at http://doctormoiowa.wordpress.com/ ). On the other hand, what keeps the outstanding group of people who work at the HCCC going is the satisfaction that comes from an important and difficult job done well. Continue reading