A cancer diagnosis can turn your world upside down.
The treatments, while effective, can carry complications. The cost can be enormous. The treatment and recovery processes may require major changes in your lifestyle. With so much information to absorb and so many decisions to make, a patient’s first reaction to a cancer diagnosis is often bewilderment.
Enter Rita Bouley, a registered nurse who serves as University of Minnesota Health Cancer Care’s full-time oncology resource coordinator. It’s her job to provide reassurance for newly diagnosed cancer patients and to help them navigate the many decisions they face. Bouley also answers calls to Masonic Cancer Center's toll-free cancer nurse phone line, which is staffed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday
What is your role in a patient's cancer-treatment journey?
I am available Monday through Friday via phone and email to assist any patients seeking second opinions or consults, or those who may have questions about clinical trials. I also answer general questions related to our cancer-treatment programs.
You're often the first person that patients encounter after being diagnosed with cancer. How do you deal with people undergoing such tremendous emotional turmoil?
I am an advocate and an educator. Most importantly, I’m a contact with a name and a phone number, and I’m there so people can reach out to me. I help people going through what is undoubtedly an overwhelming situation. Giving these people my name and contact information may not seem like much of a comfort, but it provides them with a connection—someone they can call for help.
What questions do people newly diagnosed with cancer commonly ask?
I get a lot of questions from people who want to know what set University of Minnesota Cancer Care apart from other providers in terms of cancer treatment. Because we’re a research hospital, I also get questions from people who are interested in becoming part of a clinical trial for treatment of their disease.
How do you address people’s concerns?
I try to make sure our patients know they are in the hands of a dedicated team of caring professionals.
What, in your opinion, sets University of Minnesota Cancer Care apart in terms of cancer treatment?
I’m really proud to be a part of University of Minnesota Cancer Care. We offer a unique team approach as a comprehensive cancer program. We are a National Cancer Institute-designated institution offering clinical trial opportunities and leading edge treatments.