By Angie Kellett, RN-BC, MSCN
It is an exciting time to be a nurse. In fact, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing profession is expected to grow over the next five years. Our healthcare system is evolving rapidly and it is important, and at times often required, for us as nurses to keep up with the latest information and trends for our patients. With the growing availability of medical information online and peer-to-peer message boards and forums, patients have become more empowered to make their own treatment decisions or diagnoses before visiting the doctor.
As nurses, our job is to help make sure patients are gathering the right information from all venues when they need it, which can be a 24/7 job. We are also there to answer questions about a person’s health, and act as a counselor providing emotional support for patients and their families.
I’ve been a nurse for 18 years and have specialized in caring for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) for more than a decade. Affecting 400,000 people in the U.S., MS is a progressive chronic disease of the central nervous system that prevents the nerves from transmitting messages between the brain and other parts of the body. MS impacts each patient in a unique way – some people experience exacerbations or relapses followed by remissions, while others experience a gradual worsening of symptoms over time.
As a chronic disease, patients will always need a healthcare team to help manage their MS and the impact it has on their lives. Because MS is unpredictable, patients may need our help at all times of the day and night. It is often in between neurologist visits that I get a call as a nurse educator with Genzyme’s MS One to One program.
For example, if a patient wakes up at 2 a.m. with numbness in her legs, as a result of their MS, she will want to turn to a reliable and trusted source of information to get through that experience. MS One to One provides this type of support and more to program members living with the disease, as well as their care partners, by phone and online, 24/7. This includes everything from discussing the latest research to learning how to speak with friends and family members about one’s MS symptoms.
To learn more about MS One to One, visit www.MSOnetoOne.com, or call 1-855-MSOne2One (1-855-676-6326). Whether you work in a doctor’s office, a hospital setting, or for a patient support program, like I do, I take great pride in knowing that we make a great impact on patients’ lives every day.
Angie Kellett is an MS One-to-One Nurse Educator.