Monday, June 16, 2014

UAB Cancer Center R.N. Spotlight: Valerie Caterinicchia

Valerie Caterinicchia, R.N.

Research Nurse Coordinator for UAB's Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Clinical Studies Unit

How did you come to this department of the Cancer Center?
“I originally answered an ad for a position in spinal research, but they did away with that position, but there was an opening in breast cancer research. I’d never done research or oncology, but I decided to give it a try. I’ve been here ever since and love it.”

What does your interaction with the patient look like?
“When the patient comes in, we assess any side effects, and if anything is abnormal, we consult the protocol for what to do. One of my favorite parts of my job is alleviating my patients’ fears and anxieties. When they first come in, they’re scared. I’m there to hold their hand and comfort them and let them know it’s going to be okay.”

Do you consider your job challenging?
“The drugs are getting more and more complex. Sometimes I feel like I need to go back to college to re-learn the anatomy and physiology, but we have great teachers in our physicians who can explain it to us so that we can explain it to the patients.”

 Tell us about your experience as a research nurse.
“I feel like I’m making a contribution to advance science. We have to keep fighting the fight. If something doesn’t help the patient, what we learn from that might help the next. I love my patients. The best part is when they come to you after the treatments and say, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you. Thank you.’ You know you’ve made an impact, and that’s rewarding.”

Mrs. Caterinicchia's full story can be found in the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center's Magazine

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