Jason Brayer [JB]: Our team approach really helps our patients because I think that we all learn through each other, and part of that is learning how to better help guide our patients. It’s not just about treating your patient, but helping them to understand what’s going on, what’s ahead for them and a lot of times holding their hands through the process. We have an idea what’s best for the patient, but we ask that person what they want and make sure that our decision-making, our ideas of how to treat their disease coincide with what their goals are. Our team approach has a tremendous impact, I think, on that.
Leslie Lauersdorf [LL]: Patients get value from their visits with us, whether it be a visit with the physician or if they’re coming in and seeing me. We spend the time educating them — going over the blood counts, going over what myeloma is — why you have it, we don’t know, specifically all the time, but what do we do with this information? How do we interpret it? And then, as far as side-effect management, we’re pretty in tune to what our drugs do, what types of side effects and making those adjustments to make therapy more tolerable.
JB: We learn so much from every patient, every person. You know, it’s not just the patient, it’s the family and it’s the interaction and the bigger picture, and every one of them makes a profound impression on me and on us.
JB: It’s amazing how patients come to us and over time, they’re so excited about seeing the nurse practitioner instead of the doctor because it tells you just how much you’ve bonded with them but also how much they trust your opinion and your knowledge that you shared with them.
LL: I just like the patients. Sitting across from them and educating them and things that we say to them affects them, for the rest of their life. Some of our patients, they’re 30 years old with myeloma; there’s absolutely nothing that separates me from them. So there’s no reason it couldn’t be me on the other side of that table. Recognizing that really makes you want to do better because that could be your mom; that could be your aunt; that could be me.
JB: There’s going to be many decisions along the way, and as I always say to my patients, the best decision is an informed decision. We’re very good at collectively taking a lot of the confusion out of the whole process of treating myeloma for the patient.
LL: We do have the best team. I plan on retiring from this job, and I’m only 37, so I got a long way to go, so you’re going to be stuck with me for a long time.