Employees’ own cancer treatment shapes how they give back

You see them walking the skybridge: some people wearing patient identification wristbands, some people wearing employee badges. But there are many of us who wear both. Employees who are patients have experienced MD Anderson’s cancer care first-hand. And many are using the lessons they learned during and after their treatment to give hope, advice and support to other patients and survivors. A new perspective on support Jamie Bernard, a recruiter in Human Resources, was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2015. After her mastectomy and chemotherapy, a colleague encouraged her to put her story to work for others. She joined the Patient and Family Advisor Program to help improve the care and services MD Anderson provides. She gained a new perspective after hearing stories from other patients and caregivers. “I think caregivers sometimes have it worse than patients,” she says. “It’s important to make sure they have time to process everything, too. Cancer can impact them just as much as it does patients.” Bernard also chairs the Cancer in the Workplace Employee Network (CWEN), where employees who also are patients or caregivers can get support and resources. Bernard’s colleagues gave her endless support, as did friends, who accompanied her to appointments. “Having a support team is crucial,” Bernard says. “My friends took notes during appointments and asked questions I forgot about,” she says. Giving hope to patients Former Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse Janelle Kister knows about giving support. A year after her treatment for ovarian cancer ended, she joined MD Anderson’s one-on-one support network for patients and caregivers, myCancerConnection, to help...

Employees’ own cancer treatment shapes how they give back

You see them walking the skybridge: some people wearing patient identification wristbands, some people wearing employee badges. But there are many of us who wear both. Employees who are patients have experienced MD Anderson’s cancer care first-hand. And many are using the lessons they learned during and after their treatment to give hope, advice and support to other patients and survivors. A new perspective on support Jamie Bernard, a recruiter in Human Resources, was 32 years old when she was diagnosed with stage II breast cancer in 2015. After her mastectomy and chemotherapy, a colleague encouraged her to put her story to work for others. She joined the Patient and Family Advisor Program to help improve the care and services MD Anderson provides. She gained a new perspective after hearing stories from other patients and caregivers. “I think caregivers sometimes have it worse than patients,” she says. “It’s important to make sure they have time to process everything, too. Cancer can impact them just as much as it does patients.” Bernard also chairs the Cancer in the Workplace Employee Network (CWEN), where employees who also are patients or caregivers can get support and resources. Bernard’s colleagues gave her endless support, as did friends, who accompanied her to appointments. “Having a support team is crucial,” Bernard says. “My friends took notes during appointments and asked questions I forgot about,” she says. Giving hope to patients Former Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse Janelle Kister knows about giving support. A year after her treatment for ovarian cancer ended, she joined MD Anderson’s one-on-one support network for patients and caregivers, myCancerConnection, to help...