Nassawadox, Va. — Riverside Cancer and Infusion Center Shore announced all of its oncology nurses in the infusion suite have achieved certification from the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).

"The community can breathe easier knowing all the nurses working on them in the infusion center have that specialty certification," said Chuck Ward, director of the Riverside Shore Cancer Center.

"It sets a higher bar. It sets a higher standard. If they're certified in oncology, they're going to be providing better service to our patients," Ward said.

Better patient care

A non-profit affiliated with the Oncology Nursing Society; the ONCC oversees programs for certification in oncology nursing in an effort to promote excellence in patient care and professional practice. To be eligible for certification, candidates must meet education and experience criteria, study for and pass an examination.

It takes months of preparation, and nurses come out better prepared to individualize care plans for each patient and prevent side effects, helping the patient achieve a better quality of life, said Tina Churn, infusion suite supervisor.

"It really gives you a better understanding of what the patient is going through," she said. "It puts us on track with all the state-of-the-art treatments out there, what to expect if they do have reactions. Whatever stage the cancer is in, we can target what's best for the patient for that stage."

A valuable resource close to home

The Shore cancer center, located on the campus of Riverside Shore Memorial Hospital, is the only site that treats cancer on the Eastern Shore, which has more than its fair share of cancer.

The region ranks No. 1 for incidence of melanoma, or skin, cancer and lung and bronchus cancer in the state, according to the Virginia Department of Health. It ranks third for incidence of oral, ovarian and colorectal cancers. It also ranks 20th for prostate cancer and 27th for breast cancer, according to the health department.

Last year, 2,153 chemotherapy sessions were completed at Shore's cancer center, Ward said.

"(Patients) have us as a valuable resource. They can stay close to home and get the best treatment," Churn said. "Whatever the patient needs, we want to be there for them. We have the education behind us to deal with their situation on a personal basis."

The infusion center is staffed by Tina Churn, Tanya Thomas, Julie Mabalot and Ashley Greer, who are all now oncology certified registered nurses. Churn and Malabot have been certified since May 2010. Thomas was certified in April 2012, and Greer was certified May 15, 2012.

About 33,000 nurses nationwide have achieved the certification, according to the ONCC.

The Oncology Nurses at Riverside Cancer Infusion Center – Williamsburg have also achieved 100% certification from Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC).


Published: May 24, 2012