Geauga Seidman Cancer Center Team - Medical Oncology
May 2023
Geauga Seidman Cancer Center Team
- Medical Oncology
University Hospitals of Cleveland Seidman Cancer Center
United States
Amanda Musial MBA, MN, RN, OCN-team leader; Katie Ludlow, BSN, RN; Cayla Clair phlebotomist; Janette Calhoun LPN; Heather Dillon, Clinical Partner; Jenny Wilson BSN, RN, OCN; Sandy Weinrich Administrative Assistant; Dawn Pilarczyk BSN, RN; Amelia Young BSN, RN; Meme Thomas BSN, RN; Rachel Vystrcil RN; Laura Weaver Administrative Assistant; Sarah Richard Social Work; Suzanne Hughes RN; Beca Detweiler Administrative Assistant; Stephanie Jessup BSN RN; Michael Fierman LPN; Dr Owusu; Amanda Myers BSN, RN, OCN ; Edyta Fortney BSN, RN, OCN; Galina Rotnov BSN, RN; Brittany Kleinhen BSN, RN; Christine Gorski BSN, RN, OCN; Megan Smith BSN, RN; Melissa Stull RN




Seidman Cancer Center at Geauga has had a trying, but rewarding few years. Two incidents really stand out when I think about a team that role models collaboration and teamwork to make a difference in the lives of our patients, families, each other, and community. 

The first event occurred Labor Day weekend when a sewage pump lost power and the hospital's wastewater backed up into Seidman. This flood ended up impacting 100% of the patient care unit, including all infusion and clinic space. In two days the entire unit was relocated to the lobby, conference room, and radiation oncology area to be open and ready for patients Tuesday morning. Staff came in to set-up a ‘COVID compliant’ infusion space with 15 chairs plus staff work area, Medical Records and secretary space, a lab, clean utility, check-in area, VS intake area, omnicell area, and clinic rooms. This was an incredible amount of work that took place very rapidly with many moving parts –the Geauga nurses jumped in to set up the safest possible infusion area, traffic pattern, and work area that allows for all the things needed to provide care – chemo waste – computers – phones – IV pumps – chemo chairs – etc….Not only were we open for business Tuesday, but none of the patients needed rerouted to another location. Everyone showed up with the absolute best attitude and outlook on what was ahead. Nursing took the lead on escalating issues quickly for resolution, cheerleading the constant change needed to adapt to our new environment, and being incredibly flexible in every single aspect imaginable. As a leader, I heard constantly how incredible the staff was being given all the constant challenges. They were laughing joking and always collaborating to make it the best possible patient experience they could. Patients also frequently asked to speak to management, and to my absolute surprise, it was always to say thank you – for a team that pulled off the impossible so they could still get their treatment close to home. Throughout the entire time we were displaced only three patients had to be routed to a different site for treatment. This makeshift unit lasted for months – and for months staff had to hear non-stop very loud construction noise as the entire unit was cut apart and pieced back together. On the clinic side, the RN Partners shared office space with the providers which also was the space they saw their patients. While this was efficient, it had challenges when it came to phone calls and follow-up needed given HIPPA constraints, often resulting in longer days for nursing while they did some of the work after clinic hours. Never once did a nurse complain and they continued to offer ideas, help, and support to each other.  

The second event occurred the year prior to our acquisition of Lake/Mentor SCC. Following my maternity leave I was asked to assist at Lake SCC to prepare them for a merger with UH CMC Seidman. This pulled me away from Geauga for the majority of the year, only being able to come to Geauga 1-2 days/week, and on those days working mostly on Lake SCC needs. The ANM on-site at Geauga continued to provide leadership to Geauga, and the nurses were respectful and helpful during this time, always lending their expertise and assistance whenever needed. The ANM kept up with all of her responsibilities as well as covering the day-to-day leadership needs, assuring that the staff never went without a need met. About two months before the merger date the decision was made to close infusion services at Lake SCC so construction could be completed. This resulted in Lake SCC nurses and all of their treatment patients being rerouted to Geauga SCC for a couple of months needed to complete the updates. Geauga nurses welcomed the new team to our site. This included sharing infusion space, setting up temporary infusion rooms in the conference room, and radiation. Sharing equipment, staff, supplies, chair time, pharmacy, and so much more. Along with two very dedicated SCC educators, my team helped orient the Mentor SCC nurses completing all new hire training and needs. This included orienting to our medical record, policies and procedures, and overall flow. With the Mentor patients coming to Geauga there was extra challenges with making sure they were being safely treated under the SCC policies and procedures. This required relying on another medical record, previously used at Lake SCC, to reference past treatments and notes. They also had to communicate with the physicians on-site at Mentor, waiting for orders and clarification. Some days were extremely challenging to get orders and clarification on, as well as reconcile site-to-site differences in practice.

One example Geauga nurses encountered daily and reconciled as well as educated our peers on was mediport use. Mediport placement and ‘ready for use’ needed researched and confirmed, sometimes patients even needed imaging prior to starting their infusions at Geauga. Depending on the age of the port this often was a daunting challenge that repeated itself often. 
We also paired the Geauga charge nurse team with their charge nurse team for training. The nurses worked on infusion chair templates – which they assisted to build for Mentor, pre-cert process, daily assignments, acuity, etc…We also brought out the medical secretary team who all oriented on-site with the Geauga secretaries and RN Partners, as well as the Medical Assistants who oriented with the Geauga LPNs. Finally, my RN Partners and phone nurse oriented the new RN Partners hired. When Mentor SCC was ready to move back into their new space many of my nurses came in that weekend to help move and set up this unit. Following the move back I had to return to Mentor to await the new nurse manager's start date. Once she did start I remained on-site for elbow-to-elbow support and orientation for about two months. Geauga remained understanding of the greater needs at Mentor, and I promised to return before our ANM had her baby!  

This time our nurses spent together and collaboration and orientation have created a very special bond between Mentor and Geauga teams. I attribute this bond to the Geauga nurses having a welcoming and team-based approach to helping our newest site, without any complaints, and only the best attitudes. Now, our two teams are very familiar with one another and they feel comfortable reaching out for assistance for ongoing support and collaboration. Mentor nurses recognized the help Geauga nurses provided and sent a very thoughtful card thanking them and recognizing all the work they put into getting them ready for the big merger date.

In general, the Geauga nurses set a tone for the unit that supports a supportive, compassionate, professional work environment. I can honestly say that the nurses here treat their patients with the absolute highest level of care and compassion but even more, they treat each other with the same amount of care and concern as their patients. I could not ask for a better team to lead, I often think about how to keep learning, so I can continue to provide the highest support possible for the best team I know.