SMITH CENTER, Kan. – Smith County Memorial Hospital has long offered chemotherapy services to better support cancer patients. Instead of traveling long distances for chemotherapy, patients may receive these treatments at SCMH under the guidance of a certified nurse.
“This is a logical step in caring for our community,” said SCMH CEO, Allen Van Driel. “We hear so often of patients who are traveling hundreds of miles a couple of times a week for cancer treatments. The trips are uncomfortable, they are exhausting and take a lot of extra time. Our staff can provide exceptional care while allowing patients to stay close to home.”
Kristine Fowler, a registered nurse at SCMH, earned a certification to administer chemotherapy. Her goal is to provide quality care while paying specific attention to the needs of the patient.
Patients receive dedicated, personalized care by Fowler who believes treatment close to home is one small way to relieve the stress and anxiety that comes with a cancer diagnosis.
“So many cancer patients feel a sense of uncertainty when they are told they need chemotherapy,” Fowler said. “My certification is in chemotherapy administration and patient education. Not only do I support their medical care, part of my job is to help provide a friendly, familiar face that helps remove some of that uncertainty.”
Fowler is with the patient from start to finish of the program.
“Before we start administering chemo, I talk with the patient and their oncologist,” Fowler said. “We discuss everything including the recipe of medications, possible side-effects, guidelines for care and answer any questions the patients has. We also include the patient’s support system in our conversations because we know how important it is to be surrounded by family and friends who provide care and encouragement.”
In order to receive care at SCMH, individuals should talk to their oncologist. Individuals do not have to be current patients at the hospital or clinic, they simply need to request the outpatient service from SCMH. The oncologist can reach out to Fowler to start the process. Once the connection is made, a patient can have a variety of procedures done at SCMH.
Fowler started administering chemotherapy in the winter and has completed programs with a handful of patients. Just about any type of cancer can be treated at SCMH including colon, breast, leukemia and others.
“We know the need is out there and we want to be a resource, so we continue to talk internally about how to provide the best care and stay on top of changes in treatment protocols,” Fowler said.
Van Driel notes that this is one of the many programs at SCMH that is unknown to many in our patient community.
“Our providers and medical staff have a wonderful reputation in the community and sometimes miss telling the community about our specialized services like chemotherapy,” Van Driel said. “We’re very pleased to see this service working well for the patients that have chosen to work with our team. We look forward to other opportunities that provide medical solutions for our community.”