This week in our Professional Profiles Section we introduce you to Antxoni Lazcano and Itxaso Carballo, Nursing Assistants at the Onkologikoa Day Hospital.
How long have you been working at Onkologikoa?
Antxoni: around 16 years.
Itxaso: Since 2009. I started in the old oncology hospital building when I finished my training and 8 years have gone by since then. I started my professional career in the medical oncology service, although I also spent a few years in the hospitalisation department.
What does your everyday work involve? What are your main duties?
Antxoni: Our everyday routine includes several things that we could sum up as receiving and accompanying patients and their family members when they come to our service (either for treatment, check-ups or as first visits) as well as solving anything they need at all times. We also answer and deal with phone calls, ranging from emergencies to administrative issues.
Itxaso: We help to plan and organise many of the patient appointments, explaining the procedure to them and guiding them through it, trying to calm and/or clarify their fears or doubts. We work closely with the oncologists in the daily surgeries, keeping a record and trying to make the work easier and faster. We also coordinate with the nurses at the Day Hospital. All to improve the quality of the care received by the patient.
You’ve had the opportunity to work in different departments during your career. What would you say is the most important part of your work at the Day Hospital?
Antxoni: I would say working as a team; coordination is very important. We are all involved in most of the tasks, always keeping the patient’s wellbeing in mind.
Itxaso: One of the things I would emphasise is the relationship created between the professional and the patient. They spend a lot of time here with us in the oncology service. The treatments they receive are long-term; the patients go through different processes and have a very intimate relationship with us from the day they receive the diagnosis of their disease until their treatment ends and they start having their check-ups.
Antxoni: I would also say that although most things are programmed and must follow an order, something unexpected always comes up that makes every day different.
How do you imagine the Onkologikoa Day Hospital in the near future? How would you like it to be?
Antxoni: More comfortable, understanding that waiting times should be shorter and made better use of, and that the rooms would be made more pleasant.
Itxaso: Another of the things that we’d like to see is a shorter duration for certain treatments, fewer side effects, and for them not to be so aggressive for the patients; although it is true that today’s antineoplastic treatments are not as aggressive as they were previously and that the patient can increasingly benefit from new treatments.