Patients receive medical care – and education

A caregiver, such as nurse practitioner Travis DeBois, above, can be a vital source of information to a patient seeking to learn more about his or her disease. (PHOTO BY ROBERT MESCAVAGE)

When we come to a medical appointment at the Upstate Cancer Center, we’re ready to have blood drawn, to have our lungs listened to, to report on our symptoms. We are focused on our health.

What we may not realize is that the appointment is also a learning opportunity.

“A great deal of what we do as advanced-practice clinicians is educate our patients,” says nurse practitioner Travis DeBois, who cares for patients with cancer and blood disorders.

It’s not unusual for patients to become experts in their particular disease. But we don’t have to do all of our research online, or in a library. Our nurse practitioner, for instance, can be a face-to-face resource.

Instead of telling him or her about the fatigue we feel, we may want to ask about its underlying cause. We may have questions about a medication we’ve been prescribed. Or we may need help understanding how different blood cells behave.

DeBois says he and his colleagues are well equipped and eager to field questions. If they don’t know the answer, they can help find it.

This article appears in the spring 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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