Treating Cancer Patients through Teamwork: A Collaborative Effort in Compassionate Care

Cambridge College of Healthcare & Technology’s Delray Beach, Florida Campus
Radiation Therapy Program: Treating Cancer Patients through Teamwork: A Collaborative Effort in Compassionate Care

A Radiation Therapy Perspective

When a person receives a diagnosis of cancer, a whirlwind of treatments, side effects, statistics are thrown at them.  They are often in for a long-term treatment regime that is scary and unfamiliar.  Their friends and family also have their own set of questions, concerns and needs.  Treating the cancer patient is an important task, and one that requires the talents and expertise of many people willing to work together for the good of the patient and family.  It takes an entire team to successfully provide treatment.

Cancer patients often have multi-modality treatments; they do not have one treatment, but rather many different treatments working together to eradicate the cancer.  The patient often undergoes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.  It takes members from each of these teams to work together to provide superior care for the patient.  Surgeons, medical oncologists, and radiation oncologists are responsible to prescribe treatments for the patients.  Nurses and therapists deliver treatments, and monitor progress.  Ancillary staff provide care to help family and friends with emotional, spiritual, and physical needs.

A Radiation Therapist is responsible to not only deliver treatments to the patient but to also monitor side effects, and educate the patient and their families on their treatments and side effects.  They discuss diet to keep a patient healthy, and work with social workers and clergy to help patients and families cope during this difficult time.  A therapist works closely with other radiation therapists, dosimetrists, physicians, nurses, clergy, social workers, community outreach programs, receptionists, and even billing personnel.  This is all done in an effort to make the patient comfortable and to provide high quality care to both patients and their caregivers.

Cambridge College is dedicated to teaching radiation therapy students to work in a team environment for the benefit of the patient.  This begins with teaching teamwork and the roles of not only radiation therapists, but the roles of all members of the treatment team.  But the education does not end there.  Students in the clinical setting work with not only radiation therapists, but they shadow physicists, dosimetrists, nurses and physicians in order to better understand how to work with them as a part of the patient care team.  Students at Cambridge College understand and learn that treating cancer patients involves a collaborative effort of providing compassionate care through teamwork.

J. Kim Mylan, MBA, RT(T)
Radiation Therapy, Program Director
Cambridge College, Delray Beach Florida Campus