As a cancer nurse navigator, Jamie Wilcox spends her days educating and advocating for her patients. But now because of strict COVID restrictions, she’s also the only other person in the room with patients at their follow-up appointments and treatments.
Just like most U.S. hospitals, St. Peter’s Health, where Jamie works in Montana, is limiting the number of people coming to the hospital. As a result, many of Jamie’s patients are forced to come to their appointments alone.
“Right now, some of my patients need a little extra support,” said Jamie. “I’m the extra set of ears and an extra set of eyes in the room. I help ask questions and write down notes so they can tell their family what’s going on.” Of course, Jamie doesn’t mind being there for her patients. She absolutely loves this part of her job and a pandemic isn’t going to change the way she cares for them.
Montana hasn’t had a lot of COVID cases to date, but Jamie said her community has taken the necessary precautions to slow the spread of the virus. Only a few of her patients are coming in for appointments and the rest are using telehealth to stay in touch with their doctors.
“This has put some stress on patients, but I just make sure they know that we’re still here taking care of them,” Jamie said. “We always want to make sure people have everything they absolutely need.”
Whether Jamie sees her patients in person or connects over a video call, she always takes the time to check-in and be there for her patients. So even though COVID-19 has changed the way Jamie helps her patients navigate cancer, it hasn’t changed her commitment to them.
“Whether or not there’s a virus, people still have cancer,” she said. “We’re just here to help them with whatever they need right now and always.”