Jun 18, 2015
Ann Grotz, RN, OCN, was nominated by the granddaughter of one of our patients for the Extraordinary Healer award, and her essay is featured in the newly released 2014 Extraordinary Healers book published by Cure Magazine.
Our Nurse IS The Best Medicine
By Samantha Itkin
I WOULD LIKE TO NOMINATE one of our current nurses, the extraordinary Ann E. Grotz, a registered nurse at Compass Oncology, for this year’s award. She is a compassionate, extremely helpful and expert oncology nurse, and I hope to express this to you throughout this essay. Ann deserves the Extraordinary Healer Award for Oncology Nursing because of the high level of care and support she provides for my 86-year-old grandfather who is fighting colon cancer for the second time within the past year.
IN EARLY 2013, my grandfather was diagnosed with colon cancer. After having his surgery and then taking time to recuperate, he started his chemotherapy treatment at Compass Oncology East in Portland, Oregon, a short time later. As many can imagine, and others know, this process is tremendously stressful on not only the patient, but the caregiver as well. The first time we arrived at the clinic we met several helpful and caring nurses. Though many, if not all, of the nurses at this location go above and beyond their requirements to make my grandfather and other patients feel at ease, Ann is the one that really has been accommodating and compassionate the most.
After my grandfather was in remission for a short two months, we returned to the clinic, but became worried when we didn’t see Ann during the first couple of visits. We were so thankful when she returned from her time off because we couldn’t imagine going through this without her kindness, smile and laughter.
Below are some examples that demonstrate why Ann should be the winner of this year’s award.
She is always willing to find out the answer to my grandfather’s random questions. On our last visit he wanted to know the meaning of some abbreviations on his blood work. Ann overheard my grandfather asking me, and within a few minutes, she brought over a printout to help him, explaining the abbreviations and advising him that there would be a quiz on it at next week’s visit. This made him smile, and when he smiles, that makes me smile.
She sure does adapt to his silly sense of humor and makes our visits easier. During this same visit, I made a comment to my grandfather that he didn’t drink enough water. Before he could tell me he knew what to do, Ann stepped in and backed me, told him to drink more water because he needed it. I am so thankful for her willingness to help me as a caregiver in addition to helping my grandfather as the patient.
A few visits before that my grandfather was concerned about his nose that consistently drips. Ann quickly responded that it could be a side effect of one of the chemotherapy drugs he is taking. Another time, my grandfather was worried about me accidently taking a bite of his food after he had eaten off of it and that I might be in danger. Ann smiled and let him know I wasn’t going to be hurt by this, but that we should not make this a habit. Ann always makes time to give my grandfather the information he wants to know.
It is amazing how she handles all the patients with their different personalities. As for my grandfather, he is one with a good sense of humor. Each visit he asks her for a cold beer instead of his chemotherapy, and Ann always has a quick-witted response with a sneering smile that makes us both laugh. Another time I witnessed her helping another elderly patient who clearly didn’t want to be there. Ann changed her approach from the joking entertaining self to a concerned, charismatic caregiver. This is just a brief example of how Ann changes her nursing style to meet all of her patients.
When my grandfather goes in to have his chemotherapy pump removed, he always hopes to get “Annie,” as she is the swift and best at removing the tape that holds the Infusystem to his port. He tells her that she should open up a shop called the Super Express Swift Shaving Chest Parlor. As usual, she responds with a smile and says, “Oh yes, right!” It’s conversations like this that really set Ann apart from other nurses.
My grandfather also wanted me to mention that Ann wears some crazy shoes that catch many of the patient’s attention and wonders where she gets them. Each visit, I remind him that they are her Danskos, which are comfortable nurse shoes. He hopes she gets another pair after she wins this award that she truly deserves because of her hard work, dedication and support that she has provided him through this last challenging year.
It is hard to wrap up all the reasons why Ann should be this year’s winner in a short essay because she is truly extraordinary and has brought many smiles, joy and happiness to my grandfather and me, as well as other patients we have met. Though there are many nurses we have met and not met, Ann stands out to my grandfather and me as a supporter on many different levels. She has made a huge impact for us. Her continued inspiration, compassion, helpfulness and support sets her apart and has made this journey of my grandfather’s smoother for both him and myself. When watching Ann, you can definitely see that she loves her job and patients, especially knowing she drives over an hour each way to work to care for others.
This is our amazing Ann! I hope you now can agree that she sure is a remarkably extraordinary healer and the best around!