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It Takes a ‘Huge Clinic Village’ to Create a Dream Cancer Care Team

Updated: Jan 4, 2022


December 30, 2021

Jamie Cesanek

It Takes a ‘Huge Clinic Village’ to Create a Dream Cancer Care Team

When a patient initially receives their cancer diagnosis, they may not know what the road ahead is going to look like, and specifically, who is going to lead them down it. At first, one may only consider their oncologist, but the truth is that there are many moving parts to a cancer care team — all of which are essential to providing optimal care.

From nurse coordinators to clinical social workers and more, each team member plays a different role in advocating for the patients’ needs, whether it be their specific treatment needs, side effect management or psychological/psychosocial support.

“After that first initial appointment, there is a … huge clinic village that takes care of the patient from anywhere to the admin assistant of the doctor who will take the calls for the patients or will triage those portal messages,” said Lisa Anderson, a GI cancer nurse navigator at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington.

A Medical Team Where Every Player Is Crucial

“There’s the clinical nurse coordinator in the clinic who does all the heavy lifting as far as education, managing symptoms, also taking patient calls and whatever else the doctor would like them to do … you have the medical assistants who room the patients, you have the lab techs who draw labs, the fellows, the doctors, the nurse practitioners, the PAs, social work, dietitian, geneticist. It's a huge team just in that group, so behind every patient, there's at least a dozen people taking care of that patient,” Anderson added, during a presentation at the 12th Annual Ruesch Center Symposium.