Why I Nominated Rush’s Team of the Year

Erin Schneider (right), a patient navigator at Rush, with Rush social worker Deirdra Soohov.

Rush’s Cancer Integrative Medicine Program staff was recently honored as the 2011 Bradley G. Hinrichs Team of the Year at Rush. Erin Schneider, a social worker and patient navigator for the Rush University Cancer Center, explains why she nominated the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program team.

By Erin Schneider

When you hear the words, “You have cancer,” many thoughts go through your head all at the same time. “Am I going to die?” “Where should I get my treatment?” “What kind of treatment will I need?” “How am I going to feel?”

Eventually, once the shock has worn off, you are able to start piecing things together and answering all of those questions. However, even when everything has fallen into place and patients are receiving the best possible care, they can feel out of control because someone else is making decisions regarding their health. Their surgeon says they need this surgery, and their oncologist says they need this chemo; they have little choice in the matter because these are the treatments that have been proven to cure their disease.

Fortunately, here at Rush we have the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program, which offers patients complementary therapies to help fight their cancer and the side effects from treatment. When patients can choose to receive acupuncture to help alleviate  pain and nausea, rather than relying solely on medications that their doctor prescribes, they regain some control of their health. Feeling in control can improve outcomes.

Not only does the Cancer Integrative Medicine Program offer treatments such as acupuncture and massage, nutritional counseling and psychotherapy, guided imagery and yoga, it offers a staff of people who truly care for the whole person. Not only do I refer patients to their program on a regular basis, I have also partaken of the wonderful services they offer. I can speak from experience of the compassionate and professional care they offer to every patient. They tailor their services to meet the needs of each individual patient, empowering them to fight, and ultimately beat, cancer.

This is why I nominated them for Team of the Quarter and why they ultimately won Team of the Year. I cannot think of a more deserving group of people to receive this prestigious award, and I want to thank them for being there for our patients and for being there for me!

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