Travis Air Force Base, Calif. – The oncology and hematology staff members at David Grant USAF Medical Center at Travis Air Force Base, California, emphasize competence, communication and compassion. Focusing on safety and effectiveness is important to the professionals who work to help those in need of their services.
Oncology is the branch of medical science dealing with tumors, including origin, development, diagnosis and treatment of malignant neoplasms. Hematology is the study of the nature, function and diseases of the blood and of blood-forming organs.
“The mission of the (joint hematology oncology infusion clinic) is to provide therapeutic and consultative services to Tricare and Veterans Affairs beneficiaries with a variety of hematologic and oncologic disorders,” said Capt. Kendra Alanis, 60th Medical Operations Squadron clinical nurse. ”We also provide infusion support for most medical subspecialty clinics. The JHOIC sees approximately 350 patients every month.”
Hematology nurses are trained to care for patients with blood diseases and disorders. Some common blood disorders include anemia, hemophilia, blood clots and blood cancers such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
“Our infusion center is staffed by an active-duty registered nurse, three VA RNs, and three Air Force civilian RNs, all certified in their oncology specialty,” said Alanis. “The clinic also staffed by one VA medical support assistant, two medical technicians, one active-duty NCO in charge, one civilian social worker, one VA and three active-duty doctors. Despite the differences inherent in the different agencies, we are all aligned to a common purpose: the care of our patients.”
According to Alanis, hematology and oncology overlap in a variety of ways. Irregularities in a routine blood test provide early detection of possible diagnosis of a blood disorder. Changes in a patient’s blood alters the way an oncologist adjusts their medication plan. This is why many oncologists have training in hematology.
“Working in oncology can be challenging, but there is no denying the sense of satisfaction we get while caring for this special population,” said Alanis. “The diverse experiences and resources available to our facility are greatly expanded because of the interagency and intra-hospital cooperation that our organization affords us. It is this spirit of cooperation and teamwork that makes the JHOIC a special place to be cared for and to work.”
Teamwork is important to the JHOIC. Every individual on the team relies on each other for the overall mission to be completed.
“Teamwork is applied into our day-to-day operation by starting our morning off with a team huddle,” said Staff Sgt. Earl Swank, 60th MDOS NCOIC. “We discuss any concerns that might come up that day. We allow each group to ask questions or bring up their concerns.”
The hematology and oncology team at DGMC continues to put their effort into helping their patients.
“The most important thing to me is that our patients are able to be seen without any interruptions,” said Swank. “The reason for them being seen in our clinic is so delicate that we do not want any delay in their care.”